n South African Law Journal - The make-up of transitional rights to minerals : something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...?

Volume 128, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



When a new mineral law regime was introduced by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 ('MPRDA') the previous system of common law mineral rights, prospecting rights, mining rights and statutory rights was completely superseded by a new administrative system whereby the common law mineral rights were replaced by similar prospecting and mining rights granted by the Minister of Mineral Resources, and the statutory authorisations to exercise such rights were fused into the prospecting or mining right thus granted. The transition from the old order to the new mineral law regime was made possible by the transitional arrangements included in Schedule II to the MPRDA. Transition was necessary to prevent the disruption of an important sector of the economy until existing prospecting and mining operations could be regulated in terms of the MPRDA. In this article, features of the three categories of transitional rights ('old order rights') in relation to their acquisition, nature, content, transfer and termination are examined in the light of recent case law. By a process of analogical reasoning 'old older rights' will be compared with common law mineral rights, prospecting and mining rights and new order rights granted in terms of MPRDA. The contentious issue of the manner and moment of expropriation of transitional rights will be touched upon briefly at the end of the article.

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