MINES AND ENERGY MERGER: TOO MUCH ON GWEDE MANTASHE’S PLATE? – LEYDEN

Author: Patrick Leyden

In a move that is likely to be welcomed by the mining industry, President Ramaphosa has appointed Gwede Mantashe as the Minister of Minerals and Energy (which now combines the Ministries of Mineral Resources and Energy).

During his short erstwhile tenure as Minister of Mineral Resources, Mantashe made significant progress in addressing several fundamental issues that have hampered investment into the South Africa mining industry over the last five years. His decisive action in addressing corruption and maladministration within his Department as well as taking steps to promote regulatory certainty were positively received by both domestic and international investors alike. As a result, South Africa gained twenty seven places under the Policy Perception Index and also made considerable gains under the overall Investment Attractiveness Index in the Fraser Institute’s most recent Mining Investment Survey.

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COURT SUPPORT FOR ARBITRATION IN SOUTH AFRICA: KNOWING WHERE YOU STAND

Author: Jonathan Ripley-Evans and Fiorella Noriega Del Valle

In December 2017, South Africa brought into law its first piece of legislation dedicated to international arbitration, the aptly named International Arbitration Act of 2017 (the New Act).

The New Act

The New Act incorporates the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law and further aligns the country’s national law with the New York Convention. The legislation has been welcomed as a necessary step for South Africa to become the continent’s leading arbitral hub. Rather interestingly, in an effort to stimulate the growth of ADR, parties can also now choose to refer their disputes to conciliation using the UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules.

But the New Act does not stop at mere adoption of the UNCITRAL texts and modernisation of the old regime. Ambitious refinements to the Model Law (which is incorporated as Schedule 1 to the New Act), seek to advance certain matters into what many may regard as relatively unchartered waters. One such ambitious development relates to court ordered interim measures.

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UPHEAVAL AND UNCERTAINTY IN MINERAL REGULATION IN PARTS OF AFRICA: RESURGENCE OF RESOURCE NATIONALISM HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF INVESTMENT TREATY PROTECTIONS

Author: Peter Leon, Andrew Cannon, Iain Maxwell and Hannah Ambrose  

The last few months have seen significant changes to mining regulations in various African states, giving rise to a concern that a regional trend of resource nationalism may be (re-)emerging. In this context it is important for companies associated with the mining sector to be aware of the protection international investment treaties may provide against the impact of resource nationalism on their assets, and how to maximise that protection before risks materialise. This bulletin briefly considers some of the last few months’ developments, before discussing how companies can use investment treaties to protect themselves against the risks they pose.

Recent developments in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”), Kenya, Zambia and South Africa

Recent changes to Tanzania’s mineral law regime are at one extreme of the developing trend. In July 2017, Tanzania enacted drastic amendments to the 2010 Mining Act, as well as two new laws asserting the Government’s “permanent sovereignty” over its natural resources (not only minerals but oil and gas as well) (see here for more details). Among other changes, the Government:

  • empowered itself to renegotiate terms in mining contracts which Parliament considers “unconscionable”. “Unconscionable” terms are defined to include those providing for foreign laws or dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • immediately banned the exportation of unprocessed minerals;
  • raised royalty rates; and
  • increased Government shareholding rights.

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