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Mining Charter heading for court over black ownership compliance

The Department of Mineral Resources and the mining industry disagree on the interpretation of the essence of the Mining Charter, which demands 26% black ownership of companies, and will approach the High Court to resolve the impasse.  

The disagreement centres on whether past deals count towards the 26% when the transactions have fallen away.

  The matter came to a head during an audit and review of compliance with the decade-old charter, which laid out corporate, social and labour targets to be met by the end of last year.

 Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi on Tuesday said the parties could not agree on the "principles applicable to assessing the ownership element" and would approach the High Court for a declaratory order "to guide us on the correct interpretation".

 The parties will ask the court to interpret the charter when it deals with acknowledging the consequences of past deals and whether these were still relevant and counted towards empowerment credentials.  Chamber of Mines president Mike Teke indicated that the Chamber wanted the declaratory order to be pursued.  Webber Wentzel mining lawyer Peter Leon said the decision to jointly approach the court rather than adopting "antagonistic" stances was to be welcomed.