Legalbrief 16 April, 2019.
Climate Change: Minerals Council opposes carbon tax
Minerals Council SA, the representative body for the mining industry in the country, has called on government to delay the implementation of the new carbon tax. A Mining Weekly report quotes Minerals Council environment head Stephinah Mudau who said: ‘The Minerals Council would like to see a delay of at least five years in the implementation of the carbon tax to allow sufficient time for government to address the design challenges and the finalisation of the appropriate regulations.’ In a briefing last month, Mudau pointed out that the South African economy had not achieved, and was not achieving, its projected growth rates. Consequently, the country was likely to see its GHG emissions decline by 13% to 14.5% by 2025 and by 26% to 33% by 2035 without the carbon tax being implemented. The reductions would bring SA’s GHG emissions below the national benchmark trajectory.‘The Minerals Council’s biggest concern with regard to the carbon tax is the design of the tax and the socioeconomic impacts that the tax will have on various sectors of the economy, including mining,’ highlights Mudau. ‘It adds yet another layer to the industry’s already extremely heavy cost burden at a time when most of the mines that are the heaviest users of power – the deep-level gold and platinum mines – are already operating marginally or at a loss,’ she added. UCT Energy Research Centre’s Professor Harald Winkler said of the Minerals Council’s response: ‘The Minerals Council seems to oppose whichever climate change measures are proposed, whether carbon tax or budget. With sluggish growth, we’ve seen emissions not grow, but not decline. The carbon tax has been delayed for several years now by several Finance Ministers. I don’t understand why the Minerals Council opposes it.’