Anooraq, Ivanplats settle dispute

[] –PLATINUM exploration firm Anooraq Resources said it had settled a dispute with Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum (Ivanplats) over an agreement relating to the Rietfontein property located on the northern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa.

Anooraq has entered into a settlement and new project agreement with Ivanplats to replace and supersede the 2001 agreement relating to the Rietfontein property.

The 2001 agreement granted Ivanplats the right to earn a 50% interest in the Rietfontein property through expenditure related to exploration activities undertaken in accordance with approved technical programmes.

“The agreement settles the arbitration process relating to disagreements with respect to the exploration activities undertaken at the Rietfontein property,” Anooraq said in a statement to the JSE.

In terms of the new agreement, both parties will abandon their respective claims under dispute forming the subject matter of arbitration.

The existing joint venture (JV) between the parties is amended such that the current Rietfontein JV is extended to incorporate a defined area of Ivanplats’ adjacent Turfspruit mineral property.

Both parties therefore retain their existing prospecting rights in respect of mineral properties in their own names but make these rights and technical information available to the extended JV.

In addition, Anooraq is awarded a 6% free carried interest in the Extended JV, provided that the extended JV contemplates an open pit mining operation, incorporating the Rietfontein mineral property.

Anooraq has no financial obligations under the extended JV terms and Ivanplats is required to fund the entire exploration programme to feasibility study with no financial recourse to Anooraq.

On delivery of the feasibility study Anooraq may elect to either retain a participating interest in the extended JV and finance its pro rata share of the project development going forward; or relinquish its participating interest in the extended JV in consideration for a 5% net smelter return royalty in respect of mineral products extracted from those areas of the Rietfontein mineral property forming part of the extended JV mineral properties.

Anooraq is also entitled to appoint a member to the Extended JV technical committee and all technical programmes going forward will be carried out with input from Anooraq.

“We are pleased with the resolution of this dispute,” said Anooraq CEO Philip Kotze.

“The revised agreement maintains our interest in the Rietfontein mineral property but extends the possibility for further development with the addition of Turfspruit. We look forward to working with Ivanplats in taking this project to the feasibility study level,” he said.

At 16:11 shares in Anooraq were trading 2.13% or 20 cents lower at R9.20 on
the JSE.