Court petition to stop Lonmin takeover

JOHANNESBURG – Mining Forum of South Africa, a non-profit organisation advocating for the rights of mining communities in North West, has decided to petition the North West High Court in order to block the Lonmin takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater, the forum’s Blessings Ramoba said on Friday.

The forum is throwing a spanner in the works of the proposed R5.1billion deal, which last week got a boost after the South African Reserve Bank cleared it.

That, however, has not deterred the forum, which has been disaffected with Lonmin for a while over the platinum miner’s alleged failure to meet its socio-economic obligations.

Ramoba said the organisation wanted the high court to revoke Lonmin’s mining licence for failing to implement social and and labour plans.

He said the grouping was dissatisfied with Lonmin’s implementation of the plans between 2014 and this year.

Former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane suspended Lonmin’s licence in November last year. But this was lifted three days later.

“We want the court to reinstate that suspension. We want the court to put the sale on hold until Lonmin has fulfilled its obligations to the community in terms of the social and labour plans,” he said.

He said Lonmin, the world’s third largest platinum miner, was in breach of its statutory obligations in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act.

The deal is still subject to approvals from competition authorities in South Africa and the UK.

Despite the wrangling regarding Lonmin’s social and labour plans track record, Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman was last week upbeat about the prospects of the transaction after it received the Reserve Bank’s approval.

“Management remains focused on ensuring the remaining conditions are met and will notify stakeholders as further progress is made,” said Froneman.

Froneman has previously said the conclusion of the Lonmin transaction would bring stability to Lonmin as well as to communities in the Rustenburg region.

Sibanye-Stillwater’s due diligence of Lonmin had identified R730million in annual overhead cost savings and a further R780m in processing synergies, which could be realised in full by 2021, Froneman said in the company’s 2017 annual report.