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South Africa pulls planned moratorium on new mining rights, renewals

South Africa's Chamber of Mines and its Department of Mineral Resources reached an agreement in the High Court of Gauteng after Minister Mosebenzi Zwane made a formal statement indicating that he would pull back a proposed moratorium on processing renewals and new applications for mining and prospecting rights.

In an Aug. 4 statement, the chamber said the agreement follows an application for an urgent interdict against the minister's July 19 notice, which covers the moratorium. As a result of the deal, the application was postponed indefinitely.

The presiding judge said the minister's approach to the situation showed "the utmost disrespect" for the constitution, the law and the courts, and called for Zwane to submit an affidavit within 14 days explaining his failure to file an answering affidavit.