The nationalisation of mines was not necessarily an answer, but there were "areas of concern" in the mining industry, the ruling African National Conrgess (ANC) said in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
"On the nationalisation of mines, let me take a step back and say, ‘that's the matter that the youth league has raised, any branch of the ANC, any region or any province is perfectly entitled to raise a matter on the table for debate'," Enoch Godongwana, the deputy chairperson of the ANC sub-committee on economic transformation, told a press briefing.
"As to whether that becomes a resolution of conference is a different matter... [but] there are areas of concern in regards to the strategy we've adopted in the mining industry," added Godongwana, who is also Deputy Public Enterprises Minister.
He said that the government had used the incentive of a licence to get mining houses to subscribe to broad-based black economic empowerment.
"[But] I think that should not necessarily be the only consideration... there should be an overriding national interest."
He said that there were situations that called for a "debate about models of state intervention".
He cited the example of the Komati power station in Mpumalanga, saying that there were mines closer to the station from which the government could source coal.
"The mine next to Komati is [loaded] with coal, but we've got to get coal from other areas, surely there should be special circumstances but not necessarily nationalisation."
The ANC Youth League has repeatedly called for the nationalisation of mines, while the ruling party has tiptoed around the issue.