Data provided by iNet BFA
Loading...
See More

Spotlight on mineral rights

Mar 09 2009 14:55 Allan Seccombe

Related Articles

Mining charter minefield

'Inept govt ruining mines'

 

Johannesburg - The SA government could be faced with claims worth billions of rands after a court ruling in favour of a farmers' representative body, Agri SA, which had coal rights taken by the department of minerals and energy (DME).

But the DME sees matters differently, saying the decision was "not a train smash".

According to Sunday newspaper Sake Rapport, Pretoria supreme court judge Willie Hartzenberg found that the loss of the mineral rights could be classified as expropriation, and that the owners of mineral rights have to be compensated according to legislation dealing with expropriated assets.

Alternatively, the government could withdraw the legislation which would restore old order rights, the newspaper reported.

"This verdict opens the door for many old order mineral rights holders to lean on the viewpoint of the judge, namely that the coming into force of the act leads to expropriation of mineral rights," said Hans van der Merwe, Agri SA CEO.

"However, each claimant would have to prove the extent of the losses due to expropriation in terms of prescribed procedures of the Expropriation Act," he said.

"I'm looking into this. It is very important and it could be a massive thing," said a lawyer, who declined to offer further comment until he had studied Friday's ruling.

DME deputy director-general Jacinto Rocha said his understanding of the case didn't open the floodgates to claims and that very few had been lodged for compensation.

Test case for state

"This is not a train smash for us. If the act did not make provision for the payment of compensation, this would be a very different matter, but it does make that provision and cater for that," Rocha told Miningmx.

He also said he thought it was the first case brought against the DME in the matter of compensation.

"This was a matter raised by an individual supported by Agri SA. Companies who were mining with old order rights are still mining. It's a different matter for companies who had plans for their mineral rights," he said.

The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), implemented in 2004, vested all mineral rights formerly owned by companies and individuals in the state.

Companies or individuals who held what are now termed old order rights have to apply for new order prospecting and mining rights, meeting a host of obligations laid out in the Mining Charter which forms part of the MPRDA, designed to transform the racial makeup of the sector.

The MPRDA makes provision for compensation, stating that any person who can prove their property was expropriated "in terms of any provision of this act may claim compensation from the state".

Agri SA regarded the matter as a test case to prove there is an onus on the state to compensate those who lost their old order rights under the expropriation legislation, Sake Rapport said.

- Miningmx.com

For more mining sector coverage, visit miningmx.com.

NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

Small Business

A cash flow crunch often occurs in small businesses trying to balance cash coming in with cash going out. Watch this video to help you improve.
 
 

No more nice-to-have shopping sprees

Fin24 user Asia writes how she managed to rehabilitate herself from splurging on feel-good items and keep clean from the bondage of lifestyle debt.

 
 

Start saving...

Where can you stash your cash?
Time the key for retirement saving
Dummy's guide to saving
Save money with affordable account

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...