[miningmx.com] — AUSTRALIA-listed Nkwe Platinum’s CEO Peter Landau has dismissed claims that the group has been less than frank with shareholders over the significance of ongoing legal disputes and administrative uncertainties to the junior exploration group’s key assets.
He said the firm would eventually proceed with its mining projects.
Nkwe’s security of title over various prospecting rights came under the spotlight after the Constitutional Court last week set aside the award of prospecting rights over two farms – Nooitverwacht and Eerstegeluk – to Genorah Resources, the major shareholder in Nkwe.
African Rainbow Minerals and Anglo Platinum have also taken the award to Genorah of three neighbouring farms on review with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), an ARM spokesperson told Miningmx last week.
They have argued that these farms are contiguous with ARM and AngloPlat’s Modikwa project and form the natural deep-level extensions to the operations of that mine.
Nkwe’s annual report for the period to end-June said the group has been granted new order rights for its Tubatse and Garatau project (Nkwe had regrouped the Genorah farms in these two separate entities).
It made no mention of any legal or administrative disputes pertaining to the rights.
Genorah reversed all its rights pertaining to the five farms into Nkwe in return for a 60% interest in the firm in 2007.
Nkwe, which listed on the ASX in 2003 has since the Genorah transaction undergone a fivefold rise in market capitalisation to A$425m at its peak in November.
The bulk of Nkwe’s advancement appears to have been achieved through the promotion of the Genorah held-rights.
On Tuesday, Nkwe dismissed ARM’s statement that the rights award of the three farms were under review.
“Following protracted negotiations involving Nkwe, Genorah Resources, Anglo, ARM and the DMR it was agreed in February 2008 that Anglo would withdraw the proceedings (a review application) and that commercial negotiations on the exploitation of the five farms would be entered to,’ the Nkwe statement said.
“These discussions are ongoing. ARM has no standing in any way to singularly commence any action against Genorah or Nkwe in respect of the five farms.’
Nkwe also said it was confident the rights issue over Nooitverwacht and Eerstegeluk would be resolved soon, in spite of the DMR’s current moratorium on the processing of prospecting rights.
It disputes the Bengwenyama community’s ownership of Eerstegeluk, saying the title holders for the property are the Roka-Phasha Tribal Authority and the Greater Tubatse Municipality.
In an interview with Miningmx, Landau scoffed at the suggestion that the group has spent shareholders’ money on projects which do not have security of tenure.
“If you’re waiting for 100% legal certainty, you’ll never go ahead,’ he said.
“We acknowledge that the court judgement has brought some noise to the system, but we are comfortable with the processes that’s being followed.’