Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 July 2010 – Anglo Platinum (AngloPlat) “’ the world’s number one producer of the precious metal “’ has finally been granted conversion of its old order mining rights into new order mining rights, which were approved on 21 July.
The announcement was tucked away in a terse clause in AngloPlat’s interim results for the six months to 30 June, reports Miningmx.
It said: “Anglo Platinum received letters of conversion for its mining rights which were granted by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) on July 21, 2010. Execution of these rights has commenced with three executed to date.”
The group has downplayed the importance of this announcement, according to Miningmx. The extended delay in converting AngloPlat’s rights compared with its major platinum peers was causing rising anxiety in some investment circles.
Speculation in the market – denied by AngloPlat CEO Neville Nicolau “’ was that the group had come under pressure from government to do further empowerment deals in addition to what it had already put in place.
Concerns were not eased by comments from minister of mineral resources Susan Shabangu on 30 June in which she rejected the concept of “once empowered always empowered.” Shabangu made it clear she would like mining companies to always have an empowerment partner on board.
AngloPlat does not have an empowerment partner because the group went the alternative route of empowerment provided for in the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act which was through units of production.
AngloPlat placed a string of valuable platinum assets into black economic empowerment hands through deals with Northam Platinum, Anooraq Resources and Royal Bafokeng Platinum. As of 2 July the situation was that AngloPlat had received “unconditional conversion letters” from the DMR for two mines and “conditional letters” for the rest.
The conversions now granted are good news because they show the new legal mining dispensation is working. The granting of the conversions should also take pressure off controlling shareholder Anglo American.