Xolobeni digs in its heels against miners’ habitual profiteering

Thought-provoking article by Eddie Rakabe, writing about the community which is embroiled in a decade-long dispute over the mining of titanium on the land they’ve inherited from their forebears.

He writes “the Minerals and Petroleum Resource Development Act accords the government the power to issue mining licences wherever mineral deposits exist. This licensing regime is intended to regulate title to the ground and other important considerations such as health, safety, environment and responsible extraction.”

“However, the recent court judgment on the matter has established that mining licensing powers are not the sole preserve of the government. The community must be consulted and give its consent to the government before mining companies can be granted licences.”

Mineral Resources

“Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has rightly argued that mine licensing cannot be left to the whims of communities alone. ‘We may end up with excessive corruption or no mining at all.'”

“The government is narrowly focusing on protecting its regulatory territory and dispensing permits or mining rights through an application process fraught with maladministration.  Land parcels that were once regarded as useful quite apart from the mineral riches that lay beneath the surface are lying depleted and unproductive due to years of irresponsible mining and uncontrolled output.” 

New approach needed

He writes “What is required is for the government to adopt a people-centric, conciliatory and collaborative approach to resolving disputes. It should heed the call for suspending the licence in the medium term while building the industrial capacity to capture a substantial portion of the titanium value chain within SA.”

“More importantly, it must reform the mining licence regime and align it with the country’s long-term development agenda. This would ensure that our natural resources are not rapidly depleted and will continue to meet the needs of future generations.”

Read the full article here.