BEE policy for mining sector on the cards

Chamber of Mines general manager Veston Malango told The Southern Times that his organisation had been working in consultation with officials from the Ministry of Mines and Energy to formulate a policy which could be used to guide the drafting of the mining charter.

Malango said the chamber has thrown its weight behind efforts to formulate a BEE charter in the mining sector, adding that consultations between the mining industry and government would pave the way for a broader BEE policy not just in the mining sector but the wider economic spectrum in the country as well.

The Chamber of Mines in late 2004 submitted a draft of an empowerment strategy anchored on seven pillars, which are; ownership, employee literacy and numeracy, education and training, employment practices, community development and procurement and beneficiation.

Though government has not officially responded to the Chamber of Mines’ draft proposal, Malango said he was happy with the way their consultations with the ministry were going. “It is very important that we have this policy and we are already talking to government on what the mining charter could be,” Malango said.

BEE policies in all sectors of the economy have already gathered momentum in the region with countries such as South Africa taking the lead in formulating charters in such sectors as mining, financial services and the manufacturing industry to help bring previously disadvantaged blacks into the mainstream economy.

South Africa’s BEE policy in the mining sector especially has already reverberated across the southern African region and countries such as Namibia and Zimbabwe say that they are taking a leaf from South Africa’s mining charter to formulate their own laws.

In Namibia as well as Zimbabwe, no law currently exists to compel mining firms to shed a part of their holding to local blacks.

The Namibian government set up ownership targets in the medium-term expenditure framework document for 2006/07 to 2008/09 of 22 percent or 35 percent Namibian ownership in the mining sector by 2009. However, little has been done on the ground to enforce the targets and some mining companies have been pro-active to outsource procurement to black-owned firms.

September 2006
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