South Africa's Biggest Labor Union Calls for a State Mining Company to Invest in Strategic Minerals

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is in favor of a state mining company to invest in strategic minerals such as platinum, uranium, coal, iron ore and manganese. However the biggest labor union in South Africa is not sure that a blanket state takeover of the country’s mines is the right approach.

The NUM’s position is that a standard model based on strategic fund/strategic equity should be developed that can be implemented across all the sectors of the country’s economy and nationalizing everything is not going to be the right answer. This is at odds with the demand of the youth league of the ANC, which calls for state ownership of all new mines.

While The NUM has supported the ANC in every election since 1994, NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni said that the government should not invest in gold mines because they are high cost and low profit propositions.

The NUM suggests that nationalizing iron ore mines and ArcelorMittal South Africa to help mitigate and cushion steel prices.

The NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said that the current debate on nationalizing mines was too narrow and that a standard policy and property clause should be brought out which could be implemented across different sectors of the economy.

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