The Committee was briefed by the Department of Minerals and Energy on the amendments that had now been effected to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, following the public hearings and the input from the Committee. Members expressed some annoyance at the number of errors in the Bill, which necessitated a reprinting, but did not raise any other substantive issues. The Committee accepted the Motion of Desirability and went through the entire Bill, page by page. The draft Report was tabled.
Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill (the Bill): Version D10 –2007: Briefing by Department of Minerals and Energy (DME)
Ms Lindiwe Mekwe, Acting Chief Director: Mineral and Mining Policy, DME, and Ms Futhi Zikalala, Deputy Director-General, DME, gave a presentation on the amendments that had been effected to the Bill, following comments at the public hearings and input from the Committee.
Mrs Mekwe noted the Long Title to the Bill, which outlined the rationale for the amendment of the principal Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) of 2002. It was noted that the Minister of Minerals and Energy (M&E) was to be made responsible for implementing environmental matters in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). There was also now provision being made to afford statutory protection to certain existing old order rights.
Ms Mekwe then moved to the changes under the definition section. She noted that a new definition was now inserted for ‘beneficiation’. Technical changes were made to the definition of ‘Broad Based Economic Empowerment’ and there were changes to the definition of ‘Historically Disadvantaged Persons’. The definition of ‘Competent Authority’ had been replaced by the insertion of references to the chief inspector. There was a new definition for the ‘Council for Geoscience’. ‘‘Community’ had been amended, to specify that this was a group of historically disadvantaged persons. Changes had also been made to the definitions of ‘Active Participation’, ‘Effective Date’ ‘Mining Titles’, ‘Owner’ ‘Minister’, ‘reconnaissance operation’ and ‘Registrar’.
The Department proposed a change to the definition of a ‘day’ to exclude Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. ‘Environmental Authorisation’ and ‘Environmental Reports’ replace ‘Environmental Management Plan and Programme’ in the principal Act. The word ‘mining’ was replaced by ‘mining and petroleum industries’. The definition of an ‘exclusionary act’ was modified and the words ‘financial provision’ was deleted. The Bill proposed to define ‘mine’ as both a noun and as a verb and the definition of ‘mining area’ was added to. In respect of the registration of mining titles, the Bill aimed to reconcile the definition with other Acts, specifically the Mining Titles Registration Act of 1967, which aimed to remove the ‘Mining Titles Office’ and replace it with the ‘Mineral and Petroleum Titles Registration office’ as stipulated in 1967 Act.
Mrs Mekwe noted that an amendment of Section 2 of the principal Act was proposed, so that communities must be able to actively involve themselves in the mineral and petroleum industries and to benefit from the exploitation of the nation’s mineral and petroleum resources..
It was explained that Clause 3 was amending Section 3 of the principal Act. Section 3 dealt with the powers of the Minister of Minerals and Energy and the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Minerals and Energy must act in consultation with the Minister of Finance in respect of prescribing the fees, levies or other consideration. The State Royalty was to be determined by the Minister of Finance.
Section 5 of the Act was amended by Clause 4. Under the amendment, all rights in land dealing with prospecting, mining or exploration or production would have to be granted under the MPRDA, but registered under the Mining Titles Registration Act. The principal Act was also being brought in line with the Diamonds Act, by insertion of a new Section 5(3)(cA).
This was a new clause inserted after Section 5 in the Act called Section 5A ‘Prohibition relating to illegal act’.
Replaced ‘days’ with ‘dates’
The clause was amending Section 10 of the Principal Act. It replaced the word ‘received’ with ‘accepted’.
This clause amended Section 11. Firstly it added the words “company or” into subsection 1, before the reference to a close corporation. Secondly, the references to the Mining Titles Office in the principal Act were replaced with the Mineral and Petroleum Titles Registration Office reference. The timeframe to register titles had previously been 30 days. This was now replaced with 60 days.
It was explained that this clause sought to clarify the procedure around the rejection of applications, and that the Regional Manager must furnish written reasons.
It was explained that there was a change to section 14 of the principal Act. The changes to subsection (3) were technical in nature. However, the changes to subsection (4) stated that the reconnaissance permit would now be valid only for one year, not two years, and would not be renewable.
It was noted that a person who wished to apply for a prospecting right must simultaneously now apply for an environmental authorisation. Subsection (2) of Section 12 was being amended to add a subparagraph (c).
Several typing and numbering errors were found in the document, including Clause 73, which was numbered incorrectly. These errors were corrected during the meeting break and the working draft of the Bill was duly reprinted with corrections.
This clause amended Section 15 of the principal act. It provided that the permission given to a person must be given to the owner or lawful occupier at least 14 days before the day the permit holder enters the property.
This amended Section 17 of the principal Act in that the Minister had 30 days to refuse to grant a prospecting right on application of the Regional Manager, if it resulted in a concentration of mineral resources under the control of the applicant.
This amended Section 19 of the Act and extended the length of time of a right for registration from 30 to 60 days, after the right had come into operation (Clause 21 made similar provisions).
After the meeting break, Ms Mekwe continued to explain the amendments but in not as much detail.
She focused upon this clause which inserted new clauses dealing with transitional matters, as contained in the new Sections 38A and 38B.
She further pointed out the various changes to the time periods, which were made for the sake of consistency.
She continued through every page, noting that the underlined words were inserted and the words in bold were omitted from the principal Act. She did not bring any further new amendments to the special attention of the committee
Several Members pointed out errors in the numbering and wording of the Bill, of a technical nature and voiced their annoyance at the problems in the document, and the delay occasioned in having to reprint the working draft of the Bill and correct those errors.
Mrs E Ngaleka (ANC) asked why the Minister did not have to give a reason for rejection of an application for production rights. Her question went unanswered.
The Chairperson then went through the Bill page by page, asking that any problems be highlighted.
The Chairperson read out the Motion of Desirability and the Committee voted in favour of that Motion.
No issues were raised with the amendments.
Mr W Spies (Freedom Front Plus) asked for clarity on whether they were voting in favour of the Bill or whether they were agreeing to the changes made to the Bill. The Chair replied that the committee still had to debate the Bill before they could vote which would happen at a subsequent meeting.
The draft Report of the Committee was tabled but would be considered and adopted at the following meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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