Director General of the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) Thabo Mokoena acknowledged that the South African Mineral Resources Management System (Samrad), which was introduced to allow the general public and investors to become familiar with the country's mining rights, is not functioning ... He stated this at a meeting of the parliamentary committee on minerals and resources on February 24, adding that the data in the system was incomplete and that ministry officials did not always enter data into the system.
However, Paul Miller, director of market intelligence and business data consultancy AmaranthCX, commenting after attending the virtual parliamentary meeting, said that DMRE admitted that it had accumulated 5,326 applications for permits and exploration and production rights , concessions and renewals. Of these, 235 pending applications relate to new mines, the processing of which could provide an immediate boost to economic growth.
The Zet Lusipo Minerals and Resources Committee Chair and other committee members on February 24 called on DMRE to provide more details on how long the various applications remained unauthorized, when they were filed, how long the work-in-progress was, and how many applications were filed with throughout each year to get an accurate picture of the lag.
The complication of mineral licensing is significant as it can take 10 to 20 years for a world-class mining project to go from discovery to production, and the disastrous state of the licensing process and regime in South Africa poses a significant risk to the mining industry in the country and its contribution to the economy and development.
Committee members expressed regret that the problems highlighted in the DMRE presentations have existed for a long time and that there does not seem to be a concrete plan for solving them.
“The only way out of this is radical transparency. In other countries, exploration expenditures are published monthly, and countries know exactly how much was spent, where, by whom and on what resources, ”Miller said.
Over the years, the industry has called for an inventory to ensure that mineral resources are exploited fairly, transparently and efficiently and with the greatest promise for legal compliance and environmental protection.