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Possible amendments to laws governing small-scale mining
In an industry that was traditionally dominated by corporate mining firms, the role of small-scale miners is often overlooked.
In an industry that was traditionally dominated by corporate mining firms, the role of small-scale miners is often overlooked. But, changes to legislation may be about to change the mining and resources landscape.
In response to demands from small-scale miners, as well as the crime and safety concerns associated with illegal mining, the Department of Mineral Resources has announced that the issuing of permits may become easier in future.
Welcoming small miners to the sector – as long as they mine legally
Announcing the changes that his department will likely be making, Deputy Minister Godfrey Oliphant gave several clues about the future of small-scale mining:
- The conditions for issuing small-scale mining permits will be relaxed
- IDC funding will be made available to small-scale miners
- Permits will only be issued for surface mining – no underground mining will be permitted
- Illegal underground mining by “zama-zamas” will not be tolerated
- Disused mine shafts will be sealed by the DMR to avoid attempted illegal mining
With illegal gold smuggling estimated to cost South Africa up to R6 billion a year, the DMR is keen to eliminate illegal mining activities.
The Department hopes to give legitimate small miners and artisanal miners the opportunity to make a living while obeying the necessary laws and regulations.
Expanding the mining sector – can artisanal miners play a vital role?
The current political climate in South Africa, especially where mining is concerned, has investors worried.
Fortunately, the mining sector has a unique opportunity to expand the number of people who benefit from our country’s mineral wealth without suffering big shocks from big competitors or nationalisation.
By allowing small-scale miners to participate in the sector, doing away with illegal mining and providing a source of income for South Africans who would otherwise be unemployed, the mining sector could make itself sustainable.
Since legitimate small miners don’t pose a threat to larger resource firms, their presence in the sector should be encouraged – in fact, they could act as partners to larger firms which own decommissioned or ageing mines.
As changes in the mining sector continue to unfold, we will monitor the latest developments and keep you updated on changes that affect your business.