An amended bill allowing state intervention in the oil and gas industry does not apply to the mining sector, a senior South African government official said on Tuesday.
The mining sector has been around for over 100 years and is a mature industry, said Musa Mabuza, Deputy Director General for Mineral Policy and Promotion at the Department of Mineral Resources.
South Africa's parliament last Wednesday passed changes to the country's petroleum law which would allow state intervention in oil and gas drilling operations.
Under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill (MPRDA), up to 20 percent interest in any such venture should go to the state and a portion of the extracted resource would have to be processed domestically instead of exported in raw form.
The bill also allows the state to buy a further percentage at a fair market price.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC), which controls the parliament, had pushed for the MPRDA, saying the bill would put greater responsibilities on mining and related companies to take localized beneficiation a lot more seriously.
But the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said the bill, which, even in the most benign interpretation, is going to severely damage the mining and energy industries in the country.
In his Tuesday remarks, Mabuza tried to alleviate worries that the bill would scare away investors, saying the bill is consistent with global practices and 20 percent is low compared to other countries.
He told SA FM Forum @8 radio that the petroleum industry, unlike the mining sector, is new and needs to be legislated.
The bill must still be signed into law by President Jacob Zuma before it becomes effective.