Contentious proposals for changes to South Africa's mining legislation remain up for debate, according to Mines Minister Susan Shabangu, saying the new bill was designed not to burden companies more but to improve the country’s regulatory framework, to the benefit of the sector.

Speaking at the Invest in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday, Shabangu responded to criticism from legal experts that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Bill gave the Minister of Mineral Resources too much discretion on regulatory matters.

One example, as pointed out by Webber Wentzel’s head of African mining and energy practice, Peter Leon, was that the bill allowed the minister to set the levels for required beneficiation, the percentage per commodity and price that is required for beneficiation, as well as the percentage of raw mineral production to be offered to local beneficiators.