South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, is adamant that the nationalisation of mines is not on the cards. The controversial and vocal ANC Youth League, however, insists that nationalisation is on the way. We’ve now been told that the ANC will make a formal decision on nationalisation in 2012. In the meantime, international investors are getting increasingly nervous, especially now that the government, in conjunction with a state-owned mining company – Africa Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC) – has opened a state-owned coal mine.Commenting on the mine, South African President Jacob Zuma said, “Government policy on minerals and mining does not make provision for the nationalisation of mining assets, but it does not prevent the state from participating actively in mining and competing with other companies.”This is a route that has been successfully adopted by Botswana, which is regarded by many world leaders as one of the most stable and promising countries in Africa. In an article cited by Google News, a Botswanan economic analyst is quoted as saying, “African governments cannot rely only on taxes and let private business own the enterprises. They should get as much as possible out of the mining activity itself. This revenue can then be used to develop the nation.”This is the kind of attitude that should give hope to investors both inside and outside the country, as well to all the people who will come to rely on the mine for jobs. Provided the South African government has a similar agenda to Botswana.The launch of the mine in Vlakfontein didn’t elicit much reaction locally. In an understated release the Chamber of Mines welcomed AMEFC to the industry with only a gentle reminder to the government that they promised the mine would receive no undue competitive advantages. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), on the other hand, were less reticent. It can be argued that NUM’s displeasure has more to do with wounded ego than anything else, as none of its members have been consulted on the matter. Various labels are being thrown around such as “bourgeoisie” and there is some name calling with hints that the new company’s leaders are donkeys or goats.AEMFC is ignoring all the vitriol and going on with business as usual. This includes a new oil project which they’d like to get off the ground in late 2013. It’s expected that the project – T Project – will involve a partnership between AEMFC and some private partners. After various assessments, Bethal in Mpumalanga province has been identified as the prime spot to yield up to 15 000 barrels of oil a day.The coal mine in Vlakfontein is expected to produce 800 000 tonnes of coal per year, with the aim to expand operations and increase the yield to 1.68 million tonnes.