South Africa May Scrap Long-Delayed Mining Bill, Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa should withdraw its long-delayed draft mining and petroleum sector legislation because the issues with the proposed law are unlikely to be resolved soon, said Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.

The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill has been stuck in a legislative quagmire for years. The current law governing the mining industry should remain in place and any changes to petroleum legislation can be dealt with separately, Mantashe said on Wednesday. The proposal would still need cabinet approval, he said.

South Africa May Scrap Long-Delayed Mining Bill, Minister Says

The MPRDA bill is currently before the National Council of Provinces, the South African Parliament’s upper chamber. The draft legislation was initially approved by cabinet in 2013, then approved in 2014 by Parliament. Former President Jacob Zuma returned it in January 2015 saying that one of the issues was that the NCOP had not conducted proper public hearings.

“We had a meeting with the NCOP last week and there are just too many issues to sort out there.” Mantashe said. “They are stuck and yet the mining sector is operating fine with the current legislation. So why change it?”

The draft law touched on several contentious issues such as requirements for local processing of minerals and free-carry provisions on oil discoveries.

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