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Kumba to be charged in rights dispute

Aug 17 2011 12:22 Reuters

Company Data

ANGLO AMERICAN PLC [JSE:AGL]

Last traded 0
Change -0,07
% Change 0
Cumulative volume 1922651
Market cap 300.78bn

Last Updated: 19-12-2014 at 04:40. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

KUMBA IRON ORE LIMITED [JSE:KIO]

Last traded 0
Change 8,69
% Change 0
Cumulative volume 264428
Market cap 78.59bn

Last Updated: 19-12-2014 at 04:40. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

ARCELORMITTAL SOUTH AFRICA LIMITED [JSE:ACL]

Last traded 0
Change 1,36
% Change 0
Cumulative volume 667888
Market cap 12.29bn

Last Updated: 19-12-2014 at 04:40. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

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Pretoria - The government will lay criminal charges against Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] over its application for a mining right over the company’s Sishen mine it did not yet own, a lawyer for the department of minerals resources said on Wednesday.

Willie Vermeulen, a lawyer for the department, told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that more details on the charges would be provided later.

A Kumba spokesperson said the group - a unit of global miner Anglo American [JSE:AGL] - would comment on the matter later.

The state's move is the latest twist in a tale that has unnerved investors and led to allegations of graft and political favouritism in the resource-rich country.

Shares in Kumba extended losses after the news and the stock was trading 1.11% lower at R451.92.

Disputes over mineral rights have highlighted transparency and governance issues after some had been awarded to people linked to high-ranking officials, sometimes over areas that were already being mined.

The dispute in court, which is at the heart of an ongoing battle between Kumba and the South African unit of steel giant ArcelorMittal SA [JSE:ACL], could further unnerve mining companies in the top producing country for platinum and ferrochrome and a major supplier of gold and iron ore.

Kumba has challenged the state's award of a prospecting right over a stake in Kumba's Sishen mine to little-known yet politically connected Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

Kumba's allegations of fraud and corruption led last month to an unprecedented raid of the minerals ministry by the Hawks, which analysts interpreted as signalling serious flaws within a key government department.

Vermeulen said Kumba had tried to manipulate the system to gain advantage by filing its application early, even before the the previous holder's right had expired, and asking officials to change the date on its bid so it would be considered first.

"What is this other than a resolution to mislead?" he told the court.

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