Lonmin ‘to account’ for Keysha’s minerals

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[miningmx.com] — LONMIN may be asked to compensate Keysha Investments 220, the company that now owns a prospecting permit over an estimated 4 500 hectares of Lonmin’s platinum-bearing land, the minerals resources department (DMR) said on Tuesday.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DMR confirmed an article published on Miningmx that Lonmin’s application to sell base metals on its operating leases was a separate matter to the award of a prospecting permit to Keysha Investments.

Miningmx said that Lonmin was likely to win the right to sell base metals from its platinum-bearing properties, but not from a relatively small portion now owned by Keysha Investments.

According to the DMR, Lonmin failed to meet the regulations of the 2004 Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) by not applying to sell minerals associated with platinum group metal mining – a right it was remediating through Section 102 of the MPRDA.

Section 102 is an amendment which allows companies to retrospectively apply to sell minerals associated with its initial mining right.

Crucially, however, Lonmin also failed to apply for prospecting rights on a portion of land for which Keysha Investments subsequently applied.

It now appears that Lonmin would have to compensate Keysha if it derived economic benefit from minerals mined on that portion of land.

“The Lonmin-Keysha dispute ultimately led to court proceedings, in respect of which a court order is currently in operation, in terms of which Lonmin has to account for its disposal of the minerals awarded to Keysha under its prospecting right,’ the DMR said.

A spokesman for Lonmin said the company was in negotiations with the DMR and therefore declined to comment on the matter.

The DMR denied there was any wrongdoing in the award of the prospecting permit to Keysha Investments, even though one of its beneficiaries would appear to be Sivi Gounden, a former executive of Lonmin and who has historic links with government.

“Disputes between individual companies should not lead to damaging allegations of wrongdoing when such allegations have no basis in fact,’ the DMR said.

“Furthermore, we would welcome any information which could lead to the successful arrest and prosecution of alleged corrupt officials and urge anyone with such information to bring such matters to the attention of the relevant authorities,’ it said.

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