South African government granted right to appeal in Sishen mineral rights case

A South African court on Friday granted the Department of Mineral Resources and Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) permission to appeal in a complex case for limited rights at Sishen, one of the world’s largest iron-ore mines.

The decision, reports Business Live, implies ICT can now challenge a ruling that said it had no ownership rights to Sishen mine, leaving it to Kumba Iron Ore and steel maker ArcelorMittal South Africa.

ICT was awarded a prospecting right to 21,4% of Sishen after ArcelorMittal South Africa failed to convert it under new mineral laws, causing the stake to revert to the state. Kumba already owned the remaining stake.

In December 2011, a high court ruled that Kumba was the owner of 100% of Sishen and therefore the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), was wrong in awarding the stake to ICT and that the deal was void.

“ICT and DMR have now applied for leave to appeal this judgment, and this application will be heard on May 11,” ArcelorMittal South Africa said in a press release Thursday.

Arbitration between ArcelorMittal South Africa and Kumba over a pricing agreement dispute that arose over the mine right issue is delayed until the court process is over, added the company.

Kumba and ArcelorMittal asked the high court back in August 2011 to overturn the award of prospecting rights for the Sishen mine to ICT, whose owners include Jagdish Parekh, a business partner of Duduzane Zuma, South African President Jacob Zuma’s son.

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