UK’s Katoro Gold in scrap with Peter Skeat over ownership of Blyvoor gold dumps

Peter Skeat

SERIAL mining entrepreneur Peter Skeat is involved in yet another corporate scrap, this time with London-listed junior Katoro Gold which wants to list a project to retreat gold-bearing dumps at the former Blyvooruitzicht mine as a new company on the London Stock Exchange.

Skeat maintains he still owns those dumps and has not sold them. He denies being in a “scrap” with Katoro commenting: “I have not spoken to Katoro for 18 months and from our point of view they have proceeded with questionable releases which are unacceptable to us and others.

“They will have to answer for that to London and others. I’ve learnt to stay clear of scraps post (Brett) Kebble and (Neal) Froneman (the current CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater).”

Skeat played a major role in the downfall of the late Brett Kebble pursuing him inexorably through the courts despite threats to his life. Skeat was chasing down R50m that Kebble owed him, but would not pay. He also had a long-running dispute with Froneman over the former Afrikander Lease mine.

Since the Kebble saga, Skeat has been involved in two sizeable mining developments – Ergo and Galaxy Gold – which he initiated and had bought. But the projects ended up in the hands of other companies after shareholder and board disagreements. Skeat says he “walked away” from both developments.

The move could be an attempted pressure play on Skeat by Katoro because a confirmed sale of the dumps for a price of R140m is one of the outstanding conditions precedent for the listing to go ahead.

The development is potentially damaging for the credibility of Katoro and its CEO, Louis Coetzee better known for his role running Kibo Energy which is listed in London and Johannesburg. Katoro issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday promoting the deal.

Also involved is former Harmony CEO, Graham Briggs who retired in 2015 but has recently started involving himself in junior mining ventures. Briggs is the manager of the Blyvoor Joint Venture, the company Katoro wants to list in London.

Social chaos

The bust-up is taking place against the background of a toxic social and labour environment around the former Blyvooruitzicht mine marked by rampant illegal mining and labour intimidation which Skeat says the South African Police Services is doing nothing to counter.

Skeat’s fellow director and black economic empowerment partner Wells Sempe was shot and killed in March this year. Skeat says Sempe’s death was followed by widespread intimidation of the workforce.

Asked if the South African Police Services had caught any of the perpetrators, Skeat replied: “They have done nothing. There is no police presence to speak of in the Carletonville area”.

Skeat bought the former Blyvooruitzicht gold mine after it was put into provisional liquidation in 2013. He renamed it Blyvoor Gold and originally intended to develop two projects: one to retreat the surface dump material and the second to re-open the underground mine.

He subsequently decided to focus on the underground mine and sell off the surface dumps which he has been trying to do for the past three years.

Blyvoor Gold director, Richard Floyd is in charge of the sale process. He told Miningmx he was approached by Jan Brits of Target Mine Consulting – which is Katoro’s partner in the Blyvoor Joint Venture – to buy the dumps.

“We granted him a six month option to purchase the dumps which lapsed because Brits could not come up with the money. He then came back to us and we granted him another six month option which lapsed in December last year again because he could not find the money.

“Our legal advice is very clear. There is no sale and we are now talking to other buyers. We are currently taking advice on how we should react to the LSE announcement by Katoro.”

Said Briggs: “As far as I am aware, there is still an agreement between the joint venture (specifically Target) and Blyvoor Gold. To my knowledge this agreement has not been cancelled and Blyvoor Gold are fully aware of the listing and the objectives of the listing.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Typical Skeat! Everyone else is to blame, never him. Eventually he will work out the common factor. He’s a serial “something”, not sure it’s entrepreneur!

  2. If you asked me to choose between P Skeat or G Briggs I’d back Briggs every day of the week! It’s credibility vs promoter/bullshitter!

    Blyvoor might just be Skeat’s “Waterloo”!

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