[miningmx.com] — NKWE Platinum would be forced to sit down and talk with its court rivals over the prospecting rights on one of the farms it lost in a Constitutional Court judgment last year, following the award of the right to both parties.
The department of mineral resources (DMR) has awarded the prospecting right for the farm Nooitverwacht to the Bengwenyama ya Maswati community, with Genorah Resources (majority shareholder in Nkwe) as the community’s economic partner, as well as rivals Miracle upon Miracle Investment (the new vehicle of Bengwenyama Minerals, which took Nkwe to court over the rights).
In November the Constitutional Court set aside the rights on the farms Nooitverwacht and Eerste Geluk, previously held by Genorah, ruling that the company hadn’t properly consulted with the communities living on the properties.
The farms form part of Nkwe’s Tubatse project on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex.
Nkwe regained access to the right on Eerstegeluk in March when the DMR awarded it to the Roka Phasha community, also with Genorah as a strategic partner.
The awarding of the rights to both farms was in terms of Section 104 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, granting the occupants a preferential right.
The tussle over the rights has took confusing turns over the last few months, with both Bengwenyama Minerals/Miracle upon Miracle and Genorah claiming to either represent or collaborate with the true representatives of the Bengwenyama community.
At a press conference on Wednesday, several community forums as well as the Paramount Chief of the Bapedi, Kgosi Kgolo KK Sekhukune, professed to be in agreement with the group collaborating with Genorah.
In essence, the DMR has now forced the rival factions of the community to explore Nooitverwacht jointly.
Nkwe managing director Maredi Mphahlele was keen to draw a line under the fallout of the Constitutional Court ruling which triggered a slump in the group’s Australian-listed shares, falling from levels of around A$0.65 prior to the judgment to A$0.32 on Thursday.
According to the notes which accompanied its half-yearly results (to end-December), the group suffered an impairment loss of A$26m because of the uncertainties related to the ownership of the rights.
Genorah also seems to be among the biggest losers, as it only owns a 30% economic interest in the ventures with the respective communities at this stage. Genorah owns just over 60% of Nkwe.
“We believe we can now get on with the business of mining,’ said Mphahlele.
The group recently completed a bank feasibility study on its Garatau project, showing a 23.3 million ounces (Moz) 4E metal content resource, consisting of a 14.2Moz measured and a 9.1Moz inferred resource.
The Tubatse project has an inferred resource of 11.8Moz UG2 reef and 13.11Moz Merensky reef.