10 DECEMBER 2010
‘Constitutional Court was misled’ Australian based platinum company, Nkwe Platinum Limited, says the Bengwenyama community misled the Constitutional Court (Concourt) in the case in which Genorah Resources lost its prospecting rights near Burgersfort on two farms. Nkwe says in a media release that, as a result, the Roka-Phasha community intends to pursue legal action against the Bengwenyama. The Roka-Phasha community alleges that the Bengwenyama misrepresented their community status and their status in terms of Section 104 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, which affords a preferential prospecting right to communities that live on the land earmarked for prospecting while RokaPhasha is also challenging a claim that the Concourt-favoured Bengwenyama had previously won community land claim in the High Court. Nkwe identifies the Eerstegeluk landowners as the and the Greater Tubatse Municipality. The Concourt, which ruled that the Nkwe-linked Genorah had failed to communicate properly with the Bengwenyama community, consequently set aside the prospecting rights that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) had awarded to Genorah, which is Nkwe’s black economic-empowerment partner.
The Concourt also overruled the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA), which demands that the aggrieved party brings its review application to court within 180 days. Although the Bengwenyama community failed to meet PAJA’s 180day deadline, the Concourt still found in its favour, on the grounds that the DMR had failed to deal with its timeous appeal. Nkwe says Nkwe, Genorah and local communities from the Concourt judgement’s Eerstegeluk and Nooitwerwacht farms have resolved to proceed with a new rights application. The court did not automatically give the prospecting rights to the Bengwenyama, who will have to submit a seperate application, which they are reportedly planning. The company further states that “over the past four years Genorah and Nkwe have initiated numerous community initiatives (employment, building of roads, provision of clean drinking water, sporting and recreational activities) over all of the 5 farms. The Company is not suggesting there have not been issues over the years. In fact, almost all mining companies in the area have had problems with regard to various social issues such as competing claims to land, chieftaincy, and representativity, most of which are a result of the effects of the previous policy of apartheid. Nkwe has at all times ensured significant involvement and interaction in resolving any community matters with numerous community representatives, with Nkwe’s senior executive management and Board members being on the ground and in constant consultation. Media reports of Genorah (and by implication Nkwe) trampling over the local communities rights and ignoring their legal and rightful connection and
involvement in the properties and their mineral worth are blatantly incorrect.” It also says “until the DMR process for dealing with the two farms has been completed we cannot make any assessment as to what the Court Decision means regarding the impact to the value of the farms. As referred to above the farms haven’t been awarded to anyone else and the local communities have resolved to jointly lodge whatever applications are required by the DMR to ensure preservation of the prospecting rights. The two farms in question do not form part of the bankable feasibility study that
is being finalised on the Garatau Project – a separate update on this will be made shortly. The two farms have at this stage only been subject to exploration and resource drilling which has defined an inferred resource of approximately 20m ounces 3PGE+Au (out of 68.5m total ounces 3PGE+Au over the 5 farms. The two farms are clearly significant and form part of Nkwe’s longer term development strategy for the Tubatse project. In terms of development they are about 18-24 months further away from our northern Garatau project (the subject of the BFS).”
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Published on Dec 9, 2010
Local newspaper for Burgersfort, Steelpoort, Ohrigstad, Jane Furse and surrounding villages in Limpopo Province South Africa.