Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 June 2010 – Imperial Crown Trading 289 (ICT) has advised Kumba Iron Ore that it wants to access the Sishen mine site in order to investigate ways in which it can exercise its controversially gained prospecting rights.
Should ICT exercise its rights, it would force production at the Sishen mine, one of the world’s biggest iron-ore producers, to a standstill.
Jagdish Parekh, the controlling shareholder in ICT, told Sake24.com in an exclusive interview that his company needed to apply to Kumba for access to the property in order to discover how best to exercise its rights. Kumba had been asked to respond within 14 days so that ICT could take its geologists and technical teams there.
On Friday Kumba confirmed that it had received the notice from ICT’s legal representatives, but had informed ICT that it was denying it access to Sishen pending finalisation of a review of the rights awarded to ICT.
Kumba’s legal head Robert Botha “’ in a declaration that forms part of court documents “’ has spelled out the consequences if ICT should gain access to the site.
He stated that Kumba would have to halt its production of iron ore, because geological aerial surveys could not be conducted while blasting was in progress. Blasting was done every day at Sishen, said Botha.
According to him, Kumba would also have to remove all heavy machinery and vehicles, as well as all electrical equipment, because their presence on the mining site would disturb geophysical surveys.
Earlier this year, in a highly controversial manner, ICT gained the rights that had previously belonged to ArcelorMittal before they lapsed. As a consequence, Kumba no longer delivers iron ore to ArcelorMittal at bargain prices, which had been saving ArcelorMittal up to R4 billion a year to the end of last year.