So much happened that left many speechless,  and  the inevitable has occurred to the long expected mining charter.The implementation of the shock new Mining Charter, requiring local mines to be 30% black-owned, has been suspended, the Chamber of Mines announced on Friday.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents 90% of the industry, applied for an urgent court interdict to stop the implementation of the Charter.

Mining companies were given 12 months to comply with the new charter’s objectives.

On Friday the Chamber of Mines indicated that the Minister of Mineral Resources has given a written undertaking that the Minister and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), will not implement or apply the provisions of the Charter in any way, pending judgment in the urgent interdict application brought by the Chamber of Mines.

The Mining Charter, published on 15 June 2017, has been criticised because of a lack of consultation between the government and other stakeholders, including labour and the mining industry itself.

Key aspects of the Mining Charter include an increase in black economic empowerment shareholding of all mines from a previous 26% to 30%. In addition, 50% of all board members and executive management must be black while 70% of all mining goods and 80% of all services in the mining industry must be procured from BEE entities.

New mining rights are subject to a 1% revenue payment to BEE shareholders prior to any shareholder distribution.

The Chamber of Mines is seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the implementation of the DMR’s Reviewed Charter, published on 15 June 2017.

The Minister has furthermore undertaken that, in the event of any breach of the above undertaking, the Chamber can set the urgent interdict application down for hearing on 48 hours’ notice to the Minister.

Based on the written undertaking, the Chamber of Mines has acceded to the DMR’s request for extra time to prepare its answering affidavit to the interdict application and for the hearing to take place on a later date. The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, 18 July 2017. The parties have asked the Deputy Judge President (DJP) of the High Court to allocate a hearing date in September 2017.  This date is subject to allocation by the DJP, which is expected to occur by around the end of July.

Chamber of Mines CEO, Roger Baxter notes that this is a satisfactory arrangement for the Chamber and the industry, whose primary objective through the interdict application remains to ensure that the DMR’s Charter does not come into effect, pending a court application to have it reviewed and set aside. Mr Baxter reiterated the Chamber and the industry’s commitment to transformation, and stressed that it was imperative that meaningful and lasting transformation be undertaken in a way that it ensures the sustainability and growth of the industry.

The Chamber’s application to have the DMR’s latest version of the Mining Charter reviewed in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) and the Constitution will be lodged as soon as possible after judgment has been handed down in the Chamber’s urgent interdict application.

Meanwhile, the Chamber’s Application for a Declaratory Order in respect of the recognition of prior BEE transactions under the Original and 2010 Charters, has been re-enrolled by the Deputy Judge President for hearing on 9 and 10 November 2017.