The South African mining industry welcomed the appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa of new minister for mineral resources.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents companies including Anglo American, Glencore and Sibanye-Stillwater, said Gwede Mantashe, currently chairman of the ruling African National Congress, had a “sound and fundamental knowledge of the industry”.

“He is a person with whom our industry has long held a constructive and respectful relationship. He is an extremely tough negotiator, demonstrated both during his time as General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and in his subsequent political positions. We look forward to the many engagements with him that doubtless lie ahead,” the Chamber said in a statement.

Mr Mantashe, a close ally of Mr Ramaphosa, replaces Mosebenzi Zwane, a deeply divisive figure who tried to push through controversial changes to South Africa’s mining charter.

His first challenge will be drawing a up version of the charter that is acceptable to both sides. Last week, the Chamber postponed its legal challenge to the charter following discussions with Mr Ramaphosa.

“The industry is ready and willing to play its part in building the industry and the economy while recommitting itself to further transformational progress,” the Chamber said in its statement.

“The Chamber and its members recognise that much work lies ahead and we are looking forward to working with the newly appointed leadership and all industry stakeholders to ensure that our industry and the people that depend on it have a better future.”

Mining is one of South Africa’s most important industry but foreign companies have been wary of investing because of high costs and regulatory uncertainty. Under Mr Zwane’s plans, miners would have been faced extra levies and higher requirements for black ownership.

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