JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Constitutional Court of South Africa is being asked to pronounce on a marathon mineral rights entanglement that lower courts have failed to resolve.
What the High Court proclaimed, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned, and now Chinese subsidiary company Aquila Steel has applied to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment delivered in November last year, which overturned an earlier High Court decision to grant it a mining right over the Gravenhage (Avontuur) manganese deposit, in the Northern Cape.
Aquila, a subsidiary of BaoWu Group of China, has been stopped in its tracks by an overlapping prospecting right that was granted to Pan African Mineral Development Company, owned by the governments of South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In November 2016, the High Court set aside the prospecting right of Pan African Mineral Development Company and approved Aquila’s mining right application over Gravenhage, but then 12 months later, the Supreme Court of Appeal reversed that decision and found in favour of Pan African Mineral Development.
Aquila MD and CEO Miles Zhou finds it extraordinary that his company is having to appeal to the highest court in the land to protect its security of tenure after taking steps to comply with the law in every respect as well as investing substantial sums in good faith.
The company is said to have invested more than R150-million on exploring the Avontuur tenement to be able to develop a potentially job-generating manganese mine.
It remains resolute in the face of the seven-year regulatory setback and stated in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online that it would take all the necessary action to protect its rights.
Aquila contends that Pan African Mineral Development Company and its Ziza affiliate should never have been granted any rights by the Department of Mineral Resources and there is nothing standing in the way of Aquila being granted the mining right.