Mineral law book bags meritorious award

10 June 2015 | Story by Newsroom
Honoured: Prof Hanri Mostert, winner of the UCT Meritorious Book Award for her work, <i>Mineral Law: Principles and Policy in Perspective.
Honoured: Prof Hanri Mostert, winner of the UCT Meritorious Book Award for her work, Mineral Law: Principles and Policy in Perspective.

Professor Hanri Mostert from the Department of Private Law has won the Meritorious Book Award for her monograph Mineral Law: Principles and Policy in Perspective (Juta 2012).

Mostert's work examines South Africa's mineral law regime, which has been in place since 2004, and its historical context in a country where the competing demands of nationalisation and private ownership of the country's resources has made for uneasy relations between government and national and international investors.

In the book Mostert comments on the political debate about the nationalisation of mines and focuses quite extensively on the implications of the new regime, introduced by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28/2002, especially for proprietary relations that existed before the Act.

The book took two years to write and although it is narrow in focus – it flowed from a commission to provide an international dispute resolution team with a comprehensive report of mineral law regulation in South Africa – it comments on statutory and judicial positions on mineral law and addresses issues of interest to policy makers and the judiciary.

These are issues such as the nationalisation of mineral resources and the expropriation of existing property interests.

As such, it has been cited by the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.

The scope of the work extends well beyond the original report, as it includes a comprehensive analysis of the proprietary position under the Act and specific consideration of expropriation issues in the South African context, something Mostert says has intrigued her since the Act was in draft form.

What is also gratifying about the book, she adds, is that what started out as a 'very limited project' in its scope and content has since burgeoned into a project to create a web-based programme that will provide access to the mining law resources of Africa.

Once complete, the African Mining Legislation Atlas (which is being compiled under the auspices of the World Bank) will be a fully fledged, open-source platform containing all mining law in Africa.

Besides the work's contributions to legal practice and academe, it also affected the trajectory of Mostert's own research in mineral law.

"I suspect that I will be busy researching the field opened up by this book for the rest of my


The most enjoyable aspect of penning a work like this was also the most challenging, says Mostert:

"The book is an opinion piece, which requires a different style of writing and a different approach than what is usual for a law book, where dealing with 'clear propositions of law' is the convention.

"Hats off to the publisher who saw the potential here and wanted to publish it even though the life-span of an opinion piece is necessarily shorter that your conventional textbook."

Hanri Mostert received her award in absentia at the 10h00 graduation ceremony on 11 June 2015. See who else has won the Meritorious Book Award over the years.


Story by Helen Swingler. Photo by Raymond Botha.

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