South Africa has a new minister of mineral resources, which is likely to be welcome news to the country's mining community. New President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his cabinet on Monday night, appointing former National Union of Mineworkers secretary general and national chairperson of the ruling ANC party Gwede Mantashe to head the Ministry of Mineral Resources. Mantashe was also the first trade unionist to be appointed to the board of a listed mining company (Samancor) in South Africa in 1995. The country's mining industry will probably be pleased to no longer have to deal with previous minister Mosebenzi Zwane, the lead figure behind the unpopular new mining charter, which caused shockwaves when it was unveiled in June last year and has been under litigation until last week.
South Africa's Chamber of Mines, which had previously called for ethical leadership of the mineral resources ministry, welcomed Mantashe's appointment. It described Mantashe as a "man of integrity and dignity", who has "a sound and fundamental knowledge of the industry he will lead and enable". They add, "He is a person with whom our industry has long held a constructive and respectful relationship. He is an extremely tough negotiator, demonstrated both during his time as general secretary of the NUM and in his subsequent political positions. We look forward to the many engagements with him that doubtless lie ahead," the chamber said.