Jun 25, 2012
ANC mining policy should focus on 'capturing rents' not nationalisationBack
Johannesburg|Africa|Building|Industrial|Mining|Petroleum|Platinum|Resources|Road|Africa|Australia|Brazil|Chile|South Africa|Bank|Investment-wary Mining Community|Services|Enoch Godongwana|Infrastructure|Mzukisi Qobo|Paul Jourdan
© Reuse this
Speaking at a 'Mining for Change' event on the eve of the ANC policy conference, Dr Paul Jourdan again stressed that South Africa's bilateral investment agreements made nationalisation without compensation “impossible” and that paying compensation would “break the bank”.
The ANC’s Enoch Godongwana would present the 400-page report, which was released earlier this year, formally this week during a 45-minute plenary presentation to delegates that will converge on Midrand, Gauteng.
The rents-focused approach outlined in the Sims report, which has been drafted with reference to mining policies in 30 countries, is also said to be in line with moves by governments globally, which contrasted strongly with the tendency during the 1970s for governments to secure the equivalent of such rents through ownership.
Nevertheless, the report insists that a greater share of the potential rents should be ‘captured’ in the interests of the country’s growth, development and employment objectives – a point that had already sent jitters through an investment-wary mining community.
Proposed is a 50% RRT that the authors believe will enable government to “share” in earnings achieved over-and-above that which would have been possible through the ‘normal’ application of capital, labour and innovation. In other words, in instances where the terms of trade had improved through higher commodity prices, or where the geology itself offered superior yields. At the same time, Sims proposes a reduction in the royalty tax to one per cent.
Such abnormal profits are suggested to be anything above a “return of investment greater than the long bond rate, plus seven per cent”. When the report was drafted it was estimated that an RRT of 50% would yield about R40-billion a year, but Jourdan admitted that it would be far lower currently, owing to the recent softening of commodity prices and the current crisis in the platinum sector.
Critics suggest that such a move could further undermine the attractiveness of South Africa as a mining investment destination and argue that the focus should rather be on improving the competitiveness of a sector that is underperforming relative to other resources-heavy economies, such as Australia, Brazil and Chile.
Political risk analyst Mzukisi Qobo argues that the policy debates should rather be centred on building confidence in the mining sector and on the creation of a “clear road map”, outlining ways to place the sector on a strong competitive footing.
“The ambiguities in the Sims report around the RRT, the functions of the State mining company, the nature of strategic minerals and the slew of regulatory institutions, do not inspire confidence. Instead, they compound confusions,” Qobo says.
The Sims report, itself, acknowledges the failure of South Africa to take full advantage of the 2003 to 2008 minerals boom, owing to resource and infrastructure constraints.
However, it asserts that accelerating the development of the sector has to be tied to five ‘economic linkages’, including the fiscal linkage that has, to date, received the bulk of the attention.
In fact, Jourdan (in his personal capacity) even argues that unless these connections are made, it may be best to leave the minerals unexploited, as without such linkages the developmental objectives will not materialise – instead, they would form the basis for further deindustrialisation.
Sims, thus envisages a strong association between mining and South Africa’s reindustrialisation aspirations, which its argues will form the foundation for 'inter-generational equity'.
The four other linkages outlined identified are:
• A knowledge linkage, which relates to developing the human resources and technological capacity to maximise the spinoffs from mining.
To achieve this, the Sims reports proposes greater coordination of the government departments overseeing minerals development and trade and industry, possibly through a ‘Super Ministry”, or through the newly created Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee.
It also argues for the RRT receipts to be ring-fenced for use in three sovereign wealth funds, designed to support fiscal stabilisation, regional development and minerals development.
Amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act would also be required, particularly to ensure that the contribution to backward and forward linkages are made a licence condition, as well as to cater for a category of ‘strategic minerals’ that could be associated with extraction and pricing conditions.
Lastly, it also calls for the expansion and upgrading of minerals-related infrastructure to support the expansion of the minerals sector. Part of the process should involve an upscaled investment in geological surveying “so that we have more deposits in 20 years time”.
“But primarily, it is up to our generation to ensure that the current depletion of our finite mineral assets establishes a competitive industrial platform for the economic prosperity of future generations,” Jourdan concludes.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Intellectual Property Law News
Alcatel-Lucent has organized in early July its Technology week in Nigeria. The Alcatel-Lucent Technology Week took place at a three-day event in both Lagos and Abuja. The event was well attended by over a hundred professionals from Nigeria ICT ecosystem....
If you were asked to imagine a computer network, the image that springs to mind would probably be one of a pristine office setting, where networking equipment is kept behind spotless glass doors in a dust- and temperature-controlled environment. But what of the real...
The Southern African Vinyls Association announced that Belgotex Floors has become the Association’s first official license holder of the Vinyl. product label – a mark of excellence that signifies the product complies with best practice as prescribed by SAVA’s Product...
Updated 4 hours ago The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has called on governments to introduce legislation that puts a stop to the construction of new coal plants, stating that coal consumption needed to be phased out completely by 2050, or earlier. The international nongovernmental...
Updated 5 hours ago The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has again lowered its growth outlook for South Africa for 2015, projecting in its October World Economic Outlook (WEO) that the economy would expand by only 1.4% this year and 1.3% in 2016. The forecasts represent a 0.6 and a 0.8...
Updated 5 hours ago There are still many opportunities for South Africa’s black high school learners to find jobs in future, both in the public and private sectors, provided that the learners apply discipline and commitment to study, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Tuesday....
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Black-owned investment holding company Sphere Holdings plans to raise a further R1-billion in the coming months in support of its strategy to become a leading black industrial enterprise, which could ultimately seek a listing on the JSE.
Energy analyst and EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland warned recently against excessive optimism regarding timescales for the proposed construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) in South Africa. He was speaking at a Nuclear Roundtable in Johannesburg. “I think we...
Malawi’s Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is inviting eligible bidders to prequalify for the board’s efficiency improvement works, which will be implemented as part of the E24-million Lilongwe Water Resources Efficiency Programme. LWB CEO Alfonso Chikuni explains that...
CROATIA, AN EU MEMBER BUT NOT A TDCA MEMBER On July 1, 2013, Croatia officially became the twenty-eighth member of the European Union (EU). Despite Croatia’s accession into the EU, it is yet to become party to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA)...
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced that its new Inundu airborne electronics testing, evaluation and training pod had made its first test flight on September 10. The successful flight was undertaken from Lanseria International...