Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 August 2010 – The South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) is expected to approve Lonmin’s application to sell base metals “within a matter of weeks,” a government source has told Miningmx.
Reporting this here, Miningmx explained that the approval would exclude a 4 400 hectare area over which an empowerment company, Keysha Investments 220, had been granted a prospecting right last year in a court action.
DMR director-general Sandile Nogxina said that in applying for conversion of seven platinum group metal (PGM) rights several years ago, Lonmin had failed to apply for the right to sell associated base metals such as nickel.
Once it had realised the omission Lonmin “’ through section 102 of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) “’ had retrospectively applied to sell these base metals.
Government was processing this section 102 application when it realised that Lonmin had long been selling base metals instead of stockpiling them. It therefore last week slapped a ban on further sales until the application could be processed.
“This is a complete red herring,” Nogxina told Miningmx. “The prohibition slapped on Lonmin to sell associated base metals never related to the area Keysha Investments 220 owned. That is entirely a separate matter.” Nogxina’s department is expected to express this information to Lonmin in a meeting this week.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the findings of my department, but I don’t foresee a problem. The law allows companies in terms of section 102 to retrospectively incorporate conversions over minerals for which they didn’t at first apply,” he said.
Lonmin had no immediate response to Nogxina’s comments.