In response to the Covid-19 crisis and national lockdown, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy has gazetted Directions under the Disaster Management Regulations to extend certain timeframes laid out in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and MPRDA Regulations relating to permissions, rights and permits.
The Directions aim to ensure fair processes for licensing, consultation, appeals and compliance processes as well as reporting requirements during the lockdown period, when the department’s administrative functions will be limited. All mining stakeholders will welcome the clarification and reprieve, in view of the unique and challenging circumstances that the Covid-19 pandemic presents.
The timeframes specified below are extended by the number of days of the duration of the lockdown, which began on 27 March 2020 and was recently extended to 30 April 2020 (and may be extended further):
Applications, renewals and appeals
- timeframes prescribed in the MPRDA relating to applications for and processing of permissions, rights and permits, when those timeframes fall within the lockdown;
- timeframes applicable to renewals of permissions, rights and permits which fall within the lockdown period or 60 days from 27 March 2020;
- timeframes for appeals reflected in regulation 74 of the MPRDA Regulations; and
- any relevant time extensions falling between 27 March 2020 and the termination of the lockdown period.
- timeframes applicable to any directives, orders, notices, orders and instructions are extended. However, for practical purposes, this extension will not apply when the relevant enforcement action is issued as an urgent measure to prevent imminent damage or harm.
Submission of reports
- the date to submit the first annual report on the Broad-based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the Mining and Minerals Industry is extended from 31 March 2020 to 1 June 2020; and
- timeframes for submission of reports under the MPRDA which fall within the lockdown period are extended.
The Directions came into effect on 11 April 2020 and apply to all administrators of the processes mentioned above, as well as all applicants, appellants, holders of rights under the MPRDA and any interested and affected parties.