The council said last week the “dysfunctional” South African Mineral Resource Management System (SAMRAD) had to be discardedAs it cited figures from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, which show 235 mining rights, 2,485 prospecting rights, 1,644 mining permits, 238 changes of ownership under Section 11 and 724 license extensions, were currently lagging behind.

President Cyril Ramaphosa tabled plans to halve the licensing period last year, and DMRE director general Thabo Mokoena said last week the department was working on the backlog and looking at measures to improve the system.

Over the weekend, the Minerals Council announced that it was working closely with the DMRE to clear permit blockades and that it and its members had offered their support in overhauling the system.

The MCSA reiterated its call to abandon SAMRAD and develop “a new, transparent and reliable online mining cadastral system”.

“A mining cadastre provides comprehensive information on exploration in the country so that investors can track its application,” it said.

“In this way, it offers investor convenience and prevents maladministration or corruption.

“Given the importance of a cadastral system in mining, the Council of Minerals has offered to contribute to its reasonable costs if the SAMRAD system is discontinued.”

Accelerated approval would “trigger” significant investment.

The country has slipped to 60 of 77 jurisdictions in terms of investment attractiveness, in the Fraser Institute’s latest annual survey of mining companies.

The council identified six factors in making South Africa an attractive exploration destination.

These were regulatory security, an end to approval delays and a transparent and efficient system for applying for prospecting rights.

Efficient and inexpensive infrastructures, “properly structured tax incentives” to encourage individuals and companies to invest in exploration projects, and a renewed incentive for the flow tax were also listed.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe wants South Africa to attract no less than 3% of global exploration spending on mining, compared to 1% in 2019.