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MINERALS AND ENERGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
18 June 2003
MINING TITLES REGISTRATION AMENDMENT BILL: FINALISATION
Chairperson: Mr M Goniwe (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill
The Committee finalised the Mining Titles Registration Amendment Bill. The issue of succession was discussed with regard to mining titles, but the Committee decided not to afford special treatment to the successors of a title holder. The Bill was set for debate on Thursday, 19 June 2003.
The Chair asked the State Law Advisor to clarify the remaining issues raised by the Committee at the previous meeting.
The State Law Advisor said that in, Clause 17 of the Agreed Amendments, Subsection 3 had been changed from "Section 11 of the Mineralâ€¦" to "Sections 9 and 11 of the Mineralâ€¦". He explained that Section 9 dealt with a situation when more than one applicant applied. Priority would be given on a first-come-first-served basis.
The Chair thanked the State Law Advisor for clarifying the change.
The Committee agreed to accept Clause 17, as amended.
Mr B Bell (DA) asked if the laws of succession played any role in the application process.
The State Law Advisor answered that they did not.
Mr Bell said that, by way of example, if a man with a mining right died of a heart attack at forty-five years of age, that mining right would lapse and the mine would no longer be productive. He asked if a provision could be included giving the family ninety days, or even thirty days, to apply for the right to be transferred to a family member before opening it up to the public.
Ms B Tinto (ANC) observed that the Bill's objective was to ensure that mineral rights belonged to the State, not to families.
The Chair noted that Mr Bell had acknowledged this, but was concerned that the family should be given time to apply. He was advocating a grace period for the bereaved.
Mr G Oliphant (ANC) noted that the relevant clause, as amended, did empower the family to apply for transfer of a mining right, but that the Bill did not guarantee succession of that right within a family.
The Chair stated that he understood the sentiments underpinning the issue. However, people in mining were very legalistic. By extending the deadline for family members, the Bill would simply give lawyers more time. It was the family's lawyers that would drive the process.
Mr Bell noted that the moment the holder of a mining right died, that right reverted back to the State. This was problematic because any mining that took place after the time of death would be illegal. Perhaps there should be a grace period during which the executor could have the right to mine extended?
Ms S Bopape-Dlomo, Director: Mining Rights, explained that the mining right would lapse once the holder died and that no successors would be specified in the title.
The State Law Advisor added that this was simply an amendment Bill and that the debate on what happened to a mining right after the death of the title holder was outside of the scope of the Bill.
Prof I Mohamed (ANC) asked what would happen to the infrastructure at a mine when the mining right reverted to the State.
The State Law Advisor answered that this would be dictated by common law.
Mr J Nash (ANC) observed that the Committee had been discussing a hypothetical case that assumed the death of a title-holder who had not made adequate preparations. The title holder's will should specify what needed to happen. There should be no grace period for the family specified in the Bill.
Mr Oliphant pointed out that Section 56 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) spelled out procedures in the event of a title-holder's death. The issues were fundamentally important, but outside the scope of the Bill.
The Chair said that it appeared the Committee did not agree with Mr Bell's suggestion. Mr Oliphant moved to pass the whole Bill.
The Committee formally adopted the Bill and the Committee Report concerned.
Mr Oliphant stated that the Bill would be debated the following day, 19 June 2003.
Mr Bell was worried that the Bill, with amendments, might contain some mistakes since it had been fast-tracked. He suggested that the Bill be debated on Tuesday 24 June instead so that the Department could be certain that the Bill and its amendments were correct.
The Chair said that the Programme Committee had decided that the Bill would be debated the following day, and that the process should proceed as scheduled. He asked the Department and the State Law Advisors to prepare a copy of the Bill for every member before the debate.
The meeting was adjourned.
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