First steps taken on road to political stability, says Anglo’s Norman Mbazima

Underground train in mine, carts in gold, silver and copper mine.

ANGLO AMERICA welcomed the “stabilising political environment” after the outcome of the internal ANC presidential election, but it urged a speedy resolution to the impasse between the mining industry and the government on regulations and policy.

Speaking for Anglo American, Norman Mbazima, the deputy chairperson of Anglo American SA, said rail and port infrastructure also needed to be urgently addressed to encourage investment in the local mining sector.

“While we may have one of the world’s most endowed mining jurisdictions, we have not been able to bring this endowment to account,” he said at the opening of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

Underlying the argument for investment in the long-term mining sector were five principle points that needed to be addressed, he said.

Political stability was important and the recent developments in the ANC where Cyril Ramaphosa was elected party president and he was being lined up for presidency of SA, were positive, he said.

“This resulted in a credible outcome, which we think is a significant ‘first step’ towards stabilising the political dynamics in our country,” he said.

While the political environment was important, the regulatory environment was even more so, and SA has had an unsettled and uncertain regulatory and policy environment. This includes amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act having been under way since 2012, and the third iteration of the Mining Charter being suspended, resulting in a court battle between the Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources since it was gazetted in June 2017.

“We cannot underestimate the negative effects of poor and inconsistent regulation,” Mbazima said. “At present, we have anything but a conducive regulatory environment.

“However, the issues that need to be resolved are comprehensive and can only be resolved by dialogue and engagement to arrive at a regulatory regime that works for everyone: one that is clear, concise and consistent,” he said.

“I am very hopeful that with the improvement in the political environment that we have seen since December, we can now find the “reset” button and get [us] back around the table.”

Source: Business Day Live