Market NewsCommentDe Beers wins court case over SA tailings

De Beers wins court case over SA tailings

A High Court in South Africa has ruled in favour of De Beers in a case related to treatment of old tailing dumps, Miningmx reported. The Bloemfontein High Court judgment means mining companies recovering minerals such as gold, diamonds and platinum from tailings dumps don't have to apply for a mining right in terms of the Minerals & Petroleum Resources Act (MPRDA), which came into effect from 2004, the report said. That, in turn, means they don't have to bring a black economic empowerment partner into the operations, as required by the MPRDA. They also don't have to jump through all the hoops that the Department of Minerals & Energy (DME) is forcing on the mining industry in terms of social and labour plans, said the report. According to the report, operations affected by the decision include those run by companies such as De Beers, DRDGold (which recovers gold from tailings dumps), Simmer & Jack (Simmers, which is recovering gold and uranium from dumps near Stilfontein) and Sylvania Resources (which recovers platinum group metals from tailings dumps near Rustenburg). Hulme Scholes, a lawyer who specialises in mining issues as a partner with Werksmans, told Miningmx "The significance of this judgment is huge. It means that as a general principle of law every dump in South Africa can be mined without having to apply for a mining right. If you can prove ownership of the dump then you can just start taking the material away for treatment to recover the minerals." The case was brought by De Beers when the DME granted a prospecting right to Ataqua Mining over dumps at the diamond group's Jagersfontein mine in the Free State, where mining operations ceased in 1971. In their ruling on 13 December in the Bloemfontein High Court, judges A Kruger and AP Beckley set aside the granting of that right.

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