Financial Mail

I VA N H O E Community troubles


Ivanhoe Mines’ huge Platreef platinum group metals (PGM) mine under developmen­t near Mokopane in Limpopo has attracted some unwelcome new attention in the Canadian media.

Ivanhoe, listed in Toronto, is chaired by a colourful mining entreprene­ur, Robert Friedland, who made a fortune from the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in Canada and the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia. He has a reputation as a tough but prescient businessma­n.

When fully developed into a 12 Mt/year operation, Platreef will be one of the biggest PGM mines in the world.

Recently it has emerged that feelings are running high in parts of the community around Platreef, after a picket at October’s Joburg Indaba conference and a confrontat­ion with police in November highlighti­ng complaints. Ten days ago, The Globe & Mail of Toronto described how an elderly pensioner was intimidate­d into taking R5 250 as compensati­on in 2011 to allow Ivanhoe to drill on her land and threatened with the loss of her pension if she did not.

The paper said Ivanhoe had cultivated key government officials and given “private briefings, gifts and donations” to the local council, including a stipend to the local chief.

Ivanhoe has posted a lengthy statement on its website accusing the newspaper of bias. It says the story does not reflect the fact that tens of thousands of people support the project. It denies any knowledge of pressure tactics and says a stipend

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