A South African judge today (Thursday) ruled in favour of Ivanplats Pty. Ltd., an Ivanhoe Mines subsidiary, clearing the way for the company to proceed with a graves relocation programme at its Platreef mine development site near Mokopane, in Limpopo Province.
Ivanplats challenged an interim order that was issued by the North Gauteng High Court following an “ex parte” hearing on 28 November 2017 that was conducted without the company’s knowledge or participation.
After hearing arguments in the Palace of Justice in Pretoria, Justice John Murphy ordered that the interim interdict be set aside, saying he would give written reasons for his judgment in due course, including a ruling on the costs of the court action.
Appearing for the company, Advocate Alfred Cockrell SC (Senior Counsel) argued before Justice Murphy that Ivanplats had obtained all necessary permits and authorisations for the grave relocation process and conducted extensive consultation with community residents and relatives of the deceased individuals interred in the relevant graves.
In an affidavit submitted to the court, Ivanplats’ Managing Director Dr. Patricia Makhesha said the company was in a unique position to develop what would become a large and highly profitable platinum mine which was co-owned by the local, historically-disadvantaged community and international investors. Dr. Makhesha said the court action was an ill-conceived attempt by a few individuals to stop the construction of a mine that would provide much needed direct and indirect jobs, access to education and skills training for young people in Mokopane.
“The Platreef underground mine represents one of the most significant foreign direct investments into the South African economy in recent years, and constitutes an asset which will yield very significant benefits to the South African economy in general and the economy of Mokopane and the Limpopo Province in particular,” said Dr. Makhesha.
The first applicant in the court action was Aubrey Langa, a well-known opponent of the project whose previous actions and threats directed against the development of the Platreef Mine, and his criminal record, have been a subject of earlier public statements by Ivanhoe Mines.