SA sees 16% assets for black miners: MiningWeb

The latest draft of a charter to reform South Africa’s mining industry sees some R100-billion worth of assets being redistributed to blacks in five to 10 years time, a mining website reported.

This translated to about 16% of South Africa’s existing mining assets, website MiningWeb said, citing a source at the talks on a charter to change an industry still dominated by whites eight years after the end of apartheid.

The first draft of the charter leaked to MiningWeb in July had proposed 30% of existing mining assets and 51% of new projects be transferred to black businesses within 10 years.

The draft had spooked investors and sent local markets tumbling.

Hopes on Friday that the second draft would stipulate less drastic quotas than the first helped boost diversified mining stocks, but on Monday they slipped lower as investors booked profits on global market gloom, traders said.

Global diversified miner Anglo American dipped 2,9% to R136, before paring some of its losses to trade 1,6% lower at R137,80 at 1017 GMT. Billiton gave up 1,8% or 90 cents to R49,10.

Anglo lost some 20% of its value after the initial draft emerged in July.

“We haven’t had anything confirmed, but the report is a much better case than was indicated. All comments suggest that the latest range of targets is something that people are comfortable with,” said one analyst.

The latest draft gave no definitive figure on ownership of new projects, MiningWeb said, citing a source at the talks.

Mining department representative Kanyo Gqulu said the MiningWeb report was “pure speculation”.

“Everybody had a view and they have a right to speculate,” he said.
He added that the negotiators may make an announcement on the second draft this week. A final document was possible by the end of this year, he added.

South Africa has already approved a Minerals Bill that aims to give blacks a bigger role in one of the economy’s mainstays.

Once the bill is enacted into law, which will happen when President Thabo Mbeki signs it, charter negotiators have six months within which to adopt a document that will set targets and deadlines to enforce the bill.

“Time is not a problem for us. The bill has not been promulgated yet, so we have no time pressure,” said Gqulu. - Reuters

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