JOHANNESBURG  - A North West family is planning to sue global chrome supplier Samancor and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) for ignoring a court order preventing the company from mining on their farm.

The Monageng family said Samancorthe company, which supplies about 30 percent of worldwide ferrochrome demand, ignored an interim court order the high court in the North West for it to stop interfering and sabotaging the family-owned company, Monageng Family Mining Services.

Tshepo Seema, speaking on behalf of the family, yesterday (WED), said they applied for the order against Samancor,  the department and other interest parties to stop them from interfering in the  business.

Seema said that the family owned a portion Tweelaagte 175 JP farm.

He said the family had applied for a prospecting right in 2009 and to date it had not been issued to the family.

Seema earlier this month wrote a letter to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe asking him to intervene.

“The family has been subject to constant harassment by some of the respondents listed in the court order. It is the wish of the family to get the minister to resolve the matter, and we wish to show the minister how we have been treated as a black family,” said Seema.

Samancor Chrome on Friday said that has not been able to access or conduct any prospecting activities on the prospecting area since May 2018, due to North-West Chrome and Monageng Mining’s illegal mining on the Samancor’s Prospecting Right Area.

"Samancor launched an application in the High Court of South Africa, North West Division, Mahikeng seeking to interdict and restrain Monageng Mining and North-West Chrome from conducting unlawful mining activities on the Samancor Prospecting Area. This application is currently subject to an application for leave to appeal,"  a Samancor spokesperson said. 

In June, the court ordered the  DMRE, the Hawks, North West provincial police and Mantashe to end the interruptions.

The court restrained the parties from intimidating, threatening or coercing the representatives, and employees of any of the entities providing transportation of chrome ore or equipment or machinery or employees to and from the mine situated at portion 3 of the farm Tweelaagte 175 JP.

Seema said that the family was shocked to learn that Samancor were issued with a prospecting right on its farm in 2016.

He charged that neither the DMRE nor Samancor had consulted the family, which owned the land and had applied to the DMRE for a prospecting right on the first-come, first-serve basis. “The DMRE and Samancor completely ignored the landowners all this process,” Seema added. 

He said the family had noticed that the prospecting rights issued to Samancor had co-ordinates that were non-existent.

He said the Department of Land Affairs issued a letter to the DMRE and Samancor informing them about the non-existence of these co-ordinates.

“The DMRE issued a section 47 notice to Samancor indicating the intention to revoke the prospecting right awarded to Samancor,” Seema said. “Surprisingly, instead of finalising the section 47 processes, the DMRE amended the prospecting rights awarded to Samancor using handwriting.”

He said the family had suffered physical and financial loss due to this treatment by all these parties, and the family business continued to suffer financial loss and investment into the project to fully develop its mining business into a profitable entity.

“The unjust suffering of the family is inflicted by a government department that is in deep cohorts with a capital giant in a form of Samancor with intentions of permanently disposing of the family of its ancestral land and its mining business that the family depends on for its survival and its affairs,” Seema said.

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