Johannesburg - ArcelorMittal SA [JSE:ACL]
and Sishen Iron Ore Company, a unit of Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO]
, said on Friday it was not possible for arbitration to proceed over their mining rights dispute until high court proceedings on the matter are finalised.
The arbitration focuses on a dispute over a supply agreement under
which ArcelorMittal received iron ore at preferential rates from Kumba.
In the court case, Kumba, a unit of global miner Anglo American,
has challenged the government’s award of a prospecting right over part of
Kumba’s Sishen mine to little-known yet politically connected Imperial Crown
The mineral rights awarded to ICT had originally belonged to
ArcelorMittal but had lapsed. This expiry lies at the heart of ths supply
The mineral right allowed ArcelorMittal to source iron ore from
Kumba at a discount. The steelmaker hopes to prove that it never lost that
privilege to obtain cheap iron ore.
A judge is to rule on the Kumba-ICT dispute next Thursday.
While the supply agreement will not be included in the ruling,
arbitrators may look to the outcome to help determine their decision.