South African Leaders Agree to Framework for Sustainable Mining

South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe chaired a meeting of leaders of mining companies, labor unions and the government’s ministers of finance, labor and mineral resources on June 14, with a goal of bringing all of the parties together to work toward ensuring the sustainability of South Africa’s mining industry. They emerged from the meeting with a 10-page “Draft Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry Entered into by Organized Labour, Organized Business, and Government— June 14, 2013.” It was the first such meeting that included all three groups.

A statement from the office of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma called for all participants in the meeting to recognize that the mining industry is central to South Africa’s economy and that the industry currently faces difficult economic conditions.

The draft framework included commitments from each group to a set of guiding principles; roles to be played; ensuring security, law and order; strengthening labor relations; a roadmap for future work; and implementation structures.

The document addressed the full range of issues that have unsettled South Africa’s mining industry since the deaths of 34 striking miners in a confrontation with police at the Marikana platinum mine on August 16, 2012. A final version of the framework agreement was scheduled to be released on June 26.

All parties to the meeting agreed to meet on a quarterly basis or as frequently as required over the next 12 months to ensure common action to address blockages and new issues as they arise.

As featured in Womp 2013 Vol 07 -