Mineral Resources Regulation Seminar Series
The South African Research Chair: Mineral Law in Africa was the co-organiser of the Mineral Resources Regulation Seminar Series hosted by the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law at the University of Oslo between 3-5 April 2018. Professor Hanri Mostert and Dr Cheri Young of the Chair were among the presenters.
About the seminar
The transition to renewable energy around the globe, as well as technological advancements in energy storage batteries, the automobile and other industries, is escalating the demand for rare earth metals and minerals. As a result, the face of mining is changing, testing the boundaries of existing legislation. In the wake of this upcoming new gold rush, it is imperative that legal frameworks are in place to ensure that all stakeholders obtain maximum benefits and protection from these increased extractive activities, and that common interests and values are properly managed and preserved.
The seminar will offer participants the opportunity to acquire and develop their knowledge of mining and minerals law, through a review of its key structuring principles related to ownership, acquisition of rights, exploitation models and environmental protection. Taking a comparative approach between Norway and South Africa, the two partners of the MENSA educational project, this seminar will build on practical illustrations from national regulation. Norway and South Africa both may be attractive to investors in the mining industry, but their legal framework is also put under pressure as a consequence of it. In Norway, the 2009 Minerals Act is the central applicable piece of legislation onshore, but new prospects of offshore discoveries have motivated the government to put forward in 2017 a law proposal for the exploitation of seabed minerals on the continental shelf. In South Africa, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 governs mining activities, assisted by a range of other supporting statutes dealing with environmental issues, ensuring transparency and accountability and also concerning taxation and decision-making. Recent concerns are related to the proposal to allow for expropriation without compensation, and to the requirements for shareholding of mining companies to be held by a percentage of historically disadvantaged South Africans.
Attempts at developing and/or refining the regulatory frameworks for mining in both these countries are therefore ongoing.