However, the Chamber had never expected the negotiations to play out any other way, especially with Minister Gwede Mantashe now at the helm of the department. The jury is still out on just how much progress was made during those negotiations.
The one point of contention, in some circles, is the exclusion of local communities from that forum. They are ultimately the ones most affected by any developments in the mining industry.
“That is no less than we and all other parties should expect on matters as critical to the industry as this,” read a statement released by the Chamber on Tuesday.
“The industry is appreciative of the real engagement that Minister Mantashe began at the weekend, after an absence of such processes over the last few years,” continued the statement.
The Chamber believes that no platform for engagement had been provided during the Jacob Zuma administration, when Mosebenzi Zwane was still Mineral Resources Minister. So, that in itself signifies progress.
“We are aligned with the Minister’s thinking that transformation, competitiveness and growth are and should be mutually reinforcing goals. These imperatives are not at odds with each other,” said the Chamber.
Two technical task teams have been established by Minister Mantashe. One will discuss the Mining Charter and the other will discuss inclusive growth in the sector. The Chamber is delighted to be involved in both.
“The Chamber is seeking a practicable and workable outcome that all parties to the Charter can accept and defend. We look forward to creative thinking on transformation from all stakeholders which might result in some aspects of a new Charter being approached in ways different from the template of the first two iterations of the Charter that have operated since 2004.
“The Chamber looks forward to an effective engagement process that, as the Minister indicated today, should include all interested parties including representatives of mining communities.”