About US | Department of Mineral Resources



About US | Department of Mineral Resources


The vision of the Department of Mineral Resources is to enable a globally competitive, sustainable and meaningfully transformed minerals and mining sector to ensure that all South Africans derive sustainable benefit from the country’s mineral wealth. This is achieved within our legislative framework and as the legitimate custodian of the country’s mineral wealth.


To promote and regulate the minerals and mining for transformation, growth, development and ensure that all South Africans derive sustainable benefit from the country’s mineral wealth


The Minister of Mineral Resources is the political head of the Department. The Department is headed by the Director General, followed by the following Deputy Directors General, who each leads their respective Branches:

  • Mineral Policy and Promotion
  • Mineral Regulation
  • Mine Health and Safety
  • Corporate Services
  • Chief Financial Officer


The Department of Mineral Resources aims to formulate and implement policy to ensure optimum use of the country’s mineral resources.

With Citibank estimating in 2010 that South Africa had R2,5 trillion worth of mineral reserves, it is clear that the mining industry is crucial in the war against poverty and underdevelopment in South Africa.

Short history

The DMR is probably one of the oldest Government departments in South Africa. Between 1897 and 1898 there were several acts that were administered by the former Registrar of Mining Rights.


On 24 April 1891, the “Department van Mijnwezen” (Department of Mining) of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic – former Transvaal Province) issued the first “Certificaat van Bezitrecht“(Certificate of Right to Possession). The regulation of mining in Mpumalanga dates back to 1890.

In the case of the other provinces, the history will differ, as each former colony before unification, had its own structures in place. In the case of the former Cape Colony, the history of the Department stretches as far back as 1898.

The former Department of Public Works also administered the functions of regulation of mining during 1922.

Over the years, the mining portfolio has found itself in some rare combinations, such as with labour, welfare, industry, health, immigration, sport and recreation and even with arts and science.

Mining featured in the Department’s name until 1980, when the name of the portfolio was changed from Mining, Environmental Planning and Energy, to Mineral and Energy Affairs.

During 1997, the name has changed to the Department of Minerals and Energy.

Since 1910 the Department has had 32 ministers, with Ms Pumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, who later became South Africa’s first female Deputy President, being the 30th Minister.

She held this position from 1999 until 2005, when she was appointed as former Deputy President.

She and then Deputy Minister Susan Shabangu, were also the first female Minister and Deputy Ministers of the Department, respectively, the only Department to have had women as Minister and Deputy Minister at the same time.

On 10 May 2009 then newly elected President, Mr Jacob Zuma, announced the creation of two new ministries to replace the Department of Minerals and Energy. The two ministries were named Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Mineral Resources, respectively.

Freedom Charter

Mining and minerals policy is based on the principles of the Freedom Charter, according to which the mineral wealth beneath the soil will be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.

The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act has opened doors for the substantial and meaningful participation of historically disadvantaged South Africans in the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources. The Act enshrines equal access to mineral resources, irrespective of race, gender or creed. It also provides for the development of the Broad Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter, which is popularly known as the Mining Charter. The Mining Charter, as promulgated in 2004 made provision to review the progress against agreed targets after five years of its implementation.

The introduction of the Mining Charter in South Africa was aimed at transforming the mining industry to redress historical imbalances engendered by apartheid so that the industry is consistent with the changes in South Africa’s overall transformation of its social, political and economic landscape.

Small scale Mining

The small scale mining sector has historically been mainly comprised of alluvial diamond and in-land salt mining, but lately the bulk of the demand for small-scale mining ventures is associated with industrial commodities, such as slate, sand, clay, sandstone, dolerite and granites for the production of infrastructural development products such as tiles, clay and cement bricks, aggregates and dimension stone for cladding.

The Department deems the role of small scale mining in community upliftment, job creation and poverty alleviation as critical. The small-scale mining sector is faced with many challenges such as lack of access to finance and markets, shortage of skills and inadequate or non-compliance with regulatory requirements all of which the DMR is working towards addressing.

Mine Environmental Management

Mine environmental management forms an integral part of the management of mineral resources in South Africa. In order for the department to effectively manage it has to undertake research, develop mine environmental policies (legislation, strategies), provide strategic guidance on mine environmental management, mine rehabilitation, water ingress, mine environmental legacies and on sustainable development.

The heritage of mining which extends for over a century has left a scourge of derelict and ownerless mines which cause serious environmental and health hazards, particularly for communities living around these areas. The department has prioritised management of rehabilitation of these mines as categorised on earlier established data base; to this end a strategy has been developed and will be implemented.

Mining Charter

The introduction of the Mining Charter in South Africa was aimed at transforming the mining industry to redress historical imbalances engendered by apartheid so that the industry is consistent with the changes in South Africa’s overall transformation of its social, political and economic landscape.

Embedded in the Mining Charter are provisions to assess the extent of progress towards the attainment of its objectives and to review the charter within five years of implementation. In reviewing the charter, community upliftment will be among the key focus areas to ensure that mining development does not continue at the exclusion of communities.

The commitments of the charter are not intended for compliance purposes only. They do not end in 2014, but are meant to permanently transform the industry to be truly reflective of South Africa.

The Department of Mineral Resources’ focus over the last five years has been on the
transformation of the minerals and mining
industry. The Department has driven the process of ensuring black participation in the mining sector as operators, investors and managers. This will continue for as long as the minerals and mining sector remains untransformed.

Social and Labour Projects

The Department has, as of 2009, conducted inspections on all social and labour projects to ensure that companies deliver on their commitments.

Mine Health and Safety

The Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate is responsible for protecting the health and safety of mineworkers or people affected by mining activities, by being responsible for implementing mine health and safety legislation.

The activities of the Inspectorate focus on achieving a safer and healthier mining industry for all. The Inspectorate works closely with industry and worker unions to reduce the incidence of mine accidents, with stakeholders committing themselves to continuously reduce fatalities by at least 20% a year.


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