Aussie min­ers

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT - David McKay

Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe (ZIZA). Be­fore 1980 it was known as Rhode­sia Rail­ways. In the colo­nial era, ZIZA op­er­ated rail routes through North­ern and South­ern Rhode­sia (now Zam­bia and Zim­babwe re­spec­tively). That’s why ZIZA’s share­hold­ers con­sist to­day of th­ese South­ern African gov­ern­ments.

PAMDC was cre­ated in 2007 as a new joint ven­ture com­pany aimed at tak­ing over the di­a­mon­dif­er­ous con­ces­sions in SA. At the time, the Zimbabwean gov­ern­ment ap­pointed t wo of its cab­i­net mem­bers to PAMDC’s board, and there were even plans to list it on the JSE.

In another sin­is­ter back story, the late Brett Keb­ble con­cluded a deal with PAMDC in 2003 via his catch-all wealth vas­sal, Rand­gold & Ex­plo­ration, to man­age the firm’s SA in­ter­ests which, wor­ry­ingly for ex­ist­ing min­ers seek­ing to de­velop new min­ing fields, cov­ers a vast 1.6m hectares of land in the North­ern Cape and Lim­popo prov­inces. Be­fore Rand­gold & Ex­plo­ration, De Beers had stew­ard­ship of ZIZA’s rights.

The worry for man­ganese, iron ore and coal ex­plor­ers p op­er­at­ing p g in th­ese p prov­inces is whether they, too, will have sig­nif­i­cant ex­plo­ration dis­cov­er­ies gazumped by PAMDC once they are ap­plied for.

Michael Hal­l­i­day, head of Aquila’s SA op­er­a­tions, said on 23 Septem­ber that the com­pany had given t he Depart­ment of Min­er­als

Re­sources 30 days to re­spond to its claim to have its min­ing right awarded. It would then turn to the courts. But it is un­likely Gov­ern­ment will re­lent on its po­si­tion. Ac­cord­ing to a source, Sha­bangu told Aquila Re­sources that the award of its prospect­ing right roughly five years ago had been “a mis­take”.

In­ci­den­tally, the com­pet­ing ap­pli­ca­tion for a min­ing right at Graven­hage puts the in­ter­ests of for­mer DMR of­fi­cial Nchakha Moloi and Nonkqubela Mazwai, a for­mer stock­bro­ker and founder of Motjoli Re­sources, also into ques­tion. The two are the prin­ci­pals in Rakana Con­sol­i­dated Mines, Aquila’s em­pow­er­ment part­ner as stip­u­lated by Gov­ern­ment’s Min­eral and Petroleum Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Act.

“It is re­gret­table that Aquila now needs to con­sider le­gal ac­tion to pro­tect the se­cu­rity of its ten­ure on the Graven­hage Man­ganese De­posit, hav­ing ad­vanced the project since 2006 in ac­cor­dance with all rel­e­vant laws and DMR re­quire­ments,” Hal­l­i­day said in a state­ment.

He isn’t the first to ex­press re­gret and then go to court. Gov­ern­ment has been taken to court many times be­fore on min­er­als rights g claims; one as early as 2006, when An­glo A Plat­inum and An­glo Coal con­side con­sid­ered it.

Mini Min­ing rights are even be­ing tested in the Co Con­sti­tu­tional Court as the DMR ap­peals the award of rights to Kumba Iron Ore ove over Sishen Iron Ore Com­pany, while who kn knows where the al­leged bribery over the min min­ing right to the South Deep gold mine in­volv­ing in mem­bers of Gov­ern­ment in empo em­pow­er­ment com­pany In­vic­tus Gold, and Gold Go Fields, will end up. Some feast.

Su­san Sha­bangu

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