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(Bloomberg) -- South African Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane proposed a restriction on granting and renewing mining rights that are needed by producers to operate in the country.

Zwane has issued a request for submissions on the proposal, “having regard to the national interest and the need to promote the sustainable development of the nation’s national resources,” he said in a government gazette published Wednesday.

The minister’s move raises the stakes in his dispute with South Africa’s mining sector, after Zwane published controversial new rules last month aimed at sharing the country’s mineral wealth more broadly but which companies say will destroy the industry. The Chamber of Mines, which represents producers, has taken the government to court to block the rules, and said last week that Zwane had agreed to suspend implementing the rules until there’s an initial court judgment.

READ: South Africa Suspends Mining Charter Pending Court Challenge

South Africa holds the biggest reserves of platinum, chrome and manganese and mining companies operating in the country include Anglo American Plc, Glencore Plc and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net, Liezel Hill, Ana Monteiro

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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