President Jacob Zuma has welcomed the recovery in commodity prices as it has resulted in an upswing in mining output.
“This augurs well for the industry. Mining has always been the backbone of our economy and an important foreign exchange earner,” President Zuma said.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address on Thursday, the President said government continues to work with other stakeholders to combat illegal mining to save lives and to prevent the trafficking of precious metals and diamonds.
“We also continue to place great emphasis on the health and safety of mineworkers which is so crucial to the sustainability of the mining sector.
“Working with the mining companies we can ensure that lives are protected at all times,” President Zuma said.
The Mining Charter is currently being reviewed. It seeks to recognise the internationally accepted right of the state to exercise sovereignty over all the mineral and petroleum resources within the Republic.
“It is also aimed at helping the country to de-racialise the ownership of the mining industry. This will help ensure the sustainability of this industry.
“We trust that discussions between government and business on the Charter will yield results so that the process can be finalised,” President Zuma said.
He said government will continue to pursue direct state involvement in mining.
The Mining Company of South Africa Bill will be presented to Cabinet and Parliament this year.
“The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill was sent back to Parliament so that issues relating to the public consultation process undertaken by Provincial legislatures can be addressed.
“We trust that it shall be processed and returned for finalization without much delay so that the concerns relating to uncertainty raised by business can be resolved,” President Zuma said.