Since the advent of democracy in 1994, the mining industry in South Africa has experienced significant changes to its legislation.
Among the principal post-apartheid changes to mineral legislation has been that all mineral rights now vest in the people of South Africa under the custodianship of the State. The legislation has also sought to ensure an equitable participation by all the country’s people in its economy.
These legislative changes have not been made arbitrarily, but only implemented after thorough discussions between the relevant government ministries, the mining industry and organised labour.
In general, South African legislation governing mining aligns with global best practice, as is comprehensively described in the recent report by the prominent legal firm Bowman Gilfillan on South Africa's mining law.
As is the case with many other mining jurisdictions across the globe, South African mining law provides for participation by local persons and companies in existing and new mining operations. The legal framework is, though, intended to encourage investment by local and foreign operators who are protected and treated equally under the law.