THE cabinet has approved a suspension of disposal of mining assets held by state entities, a move that might lead to the creation of a state miningcompany.
Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said yesterday that the moratorium was intended to provide the minister of mineral resources adequate time to conduct and finalise an audit of mining interests held directly or indirectly by the state.
"This audit will enable the state to decide whether to consolidate, retain or dispose of such interests," he said.
Maseko said it was too early to suggest the moratorium would lead to the establishment of a national mining company, an idea considered mulled by the ANC but criticised by mining analysts as unworkable.
He said a lot of state mineral assets were owned without being registered on a central database.
According to the 2008 annual report of the government-owned Central Energy Fund group, one of its subsidiaries was the African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation, whose mandate was to acquire and hold all exploration and mineral rights on behalf of the state. - Reuters