Judge John Murphy set aside the interim interdict that was granted by the North Gauteng High Court on 28 November 28 last year following an “ex parte” hearing.
Judge Murphy said today he would give written reasons for his decision in due course, including a ruling on the costs of the court action.
Representing Ivanplats’ challenge of the interim interdict, advocate Alfred Cockrell said that Ivanplats had conducted extensive consultation with community residents and relatives of the deceased individuals interred in the relevant graves and also had obtained all necessary permits and authorisations for the relocation process.
A total of 54 graves were relocated from land outside the perimeter of the active mine development site before the interim interdict was issued, 30 awaited relocation and 10 locations had been investigated and found not to contain human remains.
The Ivanplats support programme includes assistance in providing new burial plots in a formal cemetery, tombstones and related services.
Ivanplats MD Dr. Patricia Makhesha said in an affidavit that the Platreef mine is co-owned by the local, historically-disadvantaged community and international investors.
She said the court action was an ill-conceived attempt by a few individuals to stop the construction of a mine that would provide much needed direct and indirect jobs, access to education and skills training for young people in Mokopane.
“The Platreef underground mine represents one of the most significant foreign direct investments into the South African economy in recent years, and constitutes an asset which will yield very significant benefits to the South African economy in general and the economy of Mokopane and the Limpopo Province in particular,” Dr. Makhesha added.
The first applicant in the court action was Aubrey Langa, a well-known opponent of the project whose previous actions and threats directed against the development of the Platreef Mine, and his criminal record, have been noted in earlier public statements by Ivanhoe Mines.
Ivanhoe Mines owns 64% of the Platreef project through its subsidiary, Ivanplats, and is directing all mine development work.