The Committee met to discuss its five-year plan. The programme was not adopted because the Department had not yet briefed the Committee on its strategic plan. Members expressed concern about the poor attendance at meetings and the ongoing problem of illegal mining. They also argued that mineral resources were not getting the necessary attention within the economic cluster.
The Chairperson noted that several Members were absent from the meeting. In addition, he mentioned that the Department of Mineral Resources had not yet briefed the Committee on its strategic plan, and that made it impossible to finalise the five year programme.
Mr P Dexter (COPE) voiced concern about the effects of so Members attending meetings. He suggested that the discussions on the programme could be held after the Departmental briefing, thus giving absent Members a chance to participate fully in the drafting of the programme.
The Chairperson suggested that the meeting with the Chamber of Mines should be rescheduled for the second parliamentary term.
Mr Dexter suggested that organised labour, specifically the National Union of Mineworkers, should also be given a chance to brief the Committee.
Ms F Bikani (ANC) suggested that the Committee should meet small scale miners and get to understand their dynamics. Investigations on illegal mining could not wait for 2013 while the problem persisted and lives were lost in the process. The public hearings on beneficiation should be brought forward to 2010 rather than 2011 because beneficiation had the potential to create jobs.
The Chairperson warned the Committee not to discuss such issues around surprise visits of illegal mines in the public domain, because that would alert the culprits even before the oversight visits.
Ms B Tinto (ANC) enquired about the studying opportunities for Members on mining.
The Chairperson replied that he would seek more information on the matter.
Ms Bikani felt that mineral resources were undermined in the economic cluster and were not given specific attention as a strategic national asset.
The chairperson concurred and promised to look into this issue. The adoption of the programme was rescheduled for a later date.
The meeting was adjourned.
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