The old battle between the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Kumba subsidiary Sishen Iron Ore Company over a Sishen mining right has possibly re-emerged.

The DMR has notified the Kumba Sishen subsidiary of its consent to the amendment of its mining right – allowing Sishen mine to include the residual 21.4% undivided share of the mining right for the Sishen mine.

While this is positive news for SIOC, which is 74% owned by Kumba, the notice is conditional and not a guarantee.

The consent to amend SIOC’s mining right is stated to be subject to a number of conditions, which are described by the DMR as “proposals”.

Kumba and SIOC are currently considering the terms of the consent and the legal and practical implications of the proposed conditions on Kumba and SIOC. Once Kumba and SIOC have had an opportunity to engage fully with the DMR in this regard and to consider the precise meaning and scope of the proposed conditions, shareholders will be updated as appropriate.

Background

An unknown entity, with possible political connections known as Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) attempted to take over the 21.4% right, contending it didn’t belong to SIOC as it fell under old MPRDA mining right legislation.

The Constitutional Court ruled on 12 December 2013 that the residual 21.4% undivided share of the mining right in respect of SIOC’s Sishen mine remained available for allocation by the DMR and that, based on the provisions of the MPRDA, only SIOC could apply to be granted the residual right.

SIOC subsequently applied to the DMR in relation to the residual right.

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