Chamber of Mines claims minister has instructed all its offices to halt processing of applications
The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has dismissed allegations that it has placed a moratorium on the processing of new mining right or prospecting right applications despite a pending court case and a public consultation process.
This comes after the Chamber of Mines said on Thursday that the mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane had instructed all its offices to halt the processing of new mining right or prospecting right applications submitted by mining companies after July 19 2017.
“No decision has been taken by the Minister of Mineral Resources to implement the moratorium. The statement issued by the Chamber of Mines today is therefore misinformed,” DMR said in a statement.
“The notice gazetted by the Minister of Mineral Resources on July 19 calls for all relevant stakeholders to make representations to the Minister on the implications of and modalities surrounding the wording of the moratorium, if one is deemed necessary and appropriate after having received any and all such written submissions.”
Zwane last month invited representations on his intention to restrict the granting of any new application for prospecting rights and mining rights and the processing of the applications for renewal of a prospecting right and renewal of a mining right in a bid to “promote the sustainable development of the nation’s mineral resources”.
The Chamber has since lodged an urgent interdict in the Pretoria High Court to prevent Zwane from implementing a notice to suspend the processing of the new section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA).
The Chamber also objected to the alleged moratorium because the closing date for comments on the proposal is only on Friday.
The DMR said Zwane would make a decision on his intention to restrict the granting of any new application for prospecting rights once he has received all relevant representations.
“The Minister will then be in a position to make an informed decision, taking into account the needs and interests of all South Africans. The Department will receive written submissions until tomorrow, the 4th of August 2017,” the DMR said.
“The Minister continues to appeal to stakeholders to engage directly with him on such important matters relating to the industry, and not rely on rumours, which only create confusion.”
– African News Agency (ANA)