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ECONOMICS AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
4 June 2003
MINING TITLES REGISTRATION AMENDMENT BILL: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr L Tolo
Documents handed out:
Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill: Presentation (PowerPoint)
The Committee was briefed on important amendments to the Mining Titles Registration Act (MTRA) aimed at bringing it in line with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). As the principal Act, the MPRDA sought to facilitate access to South Africa's mineral resources, thereby opening up the industry to new entrants, especially from historically disadvantaged communities. The amendments to the MTRA dealt with the technicalities of re-registering and converting old-order mining and prospecting rights. Since members of the Committee were not familiar with these technical issues, very little discussion took place. The Department was asked to present an overview of the entire legislative framework affecting minerals and energy later in the year, so that members could more fully understand its impact on ordinary South Africans.
The Chair noted that the Bill had not yet been tabled before the Committee. However, the presentation had been arranged to give members a better understanding of the new policy framework for the mining sector.
Department of Minerals and Energy: Briefing
Ms Bopape-Dlomo focused on linkages between the Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill (MTRAB) and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). She also compared the provisions of the current Mining Titles Registration Act (MTRA) with the objectives of the MTRAB, explaining the importance of the proposed amendments and new clauses.
The MPRDA provided for a significant policy shift by giving custodianship of mineral resources to the State while guaranteeing security of tenure to mining companies. This would address serious impediments to access to mineral rights. Access to information was also central to the MPRDA. Amendments to the MTRA sought to address this and to manage the transitional period following implementation of the MPRDA in respect of mining titles registration and related issues.
The Chair asked whether the proposed Bill intended to expropriate certain rights during the transitional period.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo replied that the proposed Bill provided for the registration of new-order rights and the conversion of old-order rights in keeping with the provisions of the MPRDA, which was the principal Act.
Mr T Setona (ANC) commented that members might experience difficulty in understanding the technicalities of the Bill, even though they had been part of the legislative process in respect of the principal Act. He asked for clarity on the lapsing of mineral rights.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo replied that the MTRAB gave the holders of old-order mining and prospecting rights between two and five years in which to register or convert their rights in keeping with the requirements of the MPRDA. Timeframes depended on the classification of the rights concerned. Unconverted old-order rights and old-order rights not registered under the new system within those timeframes would fall away. Commercial transactions on old-order rights would hold good during the window period. The holders of old-order rights could therefore transfer, cede, lease or sublease their rights as usual during the transition period.
The Chair stated that there was a need for members to acquaint themselves with the contents of the proposed Bill and the MPRDA. He also called upon the Department to brief the Committee during the course of the year about the broader legislative framework for the mining industry and how this was likely to impact on the lives of the ordinary people.
The meeting was adjourned.
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