FILE PHOTO: A mine worker returns from the Lonmin mine at the end of his shift, outside Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg
JOHANNESBURG - The mining Forum of South Africa is planning to file another notion of motion in the high court on Friday to block the proposed Lonmin takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater.

The forum yesterday said it had also engaged the Competition Commission as part of its strategy to scupper the R5.1billion deal.

The forum’s president, Blessings Ramoba, said the group would do everything to protect the rights of the Bapo Ba Mogale community. “We are going to make sure the deal does not go ahead,” he said.

Yesterday, the proposed takeover passed another regulatory hurdle as the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) cleared it.

Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman said Sarb’s approval took the deal a step closer to finalisation. “We are pleased to have received this important regulatory approval in a timely manner, which takes us another step closer to concluding this important transaction,” Froneman said. “Management remains focused on ensuring the remaining conditions are met and will notify stakeholders as further progress is made.”

Lonmin chief executive Ben Magara said yesterday: “Lonmin remains committed to its strategy of focusing on operational performance, controlling costs and preserving cash”.

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

Lonmin and Sibanye-Stillwater shareholders still need to give it their approval.

In papers seen by Business Report, the forum argues it would be a precarious situation for Bapo Ba Mogale to hold new licence holder Sibanye-Stillwater liable for commitments made by Lonmin.

It said the transfer of the licence without finalising this matter would result in a grave unfairness to the beneficiaries that were intended by the Lonmin programmes. “Though not the only community intended to benefit, we remain the most affected as the evils (in the form of environmental destruction, poverty, social problems created by the migrant labour system) of mining are to remain with us for generations to come.”

The forum approached the high court in March in a bid to block Sibanye-Stillwater’s proposed takeover of Lonmin, announced on December 14, 2017, saying the platinum producer had failed to meet its obligations to communities.

Former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane suspended Lonmin’s operating licence on November 28 last year and lifted it three days later in an about-turn.

However, Ramoba argued at the time that the suspension of Lonmin’s licence was lifted after the forum took Lonmin to court for not meeting its obligations to the Social and Labour Plans. “The court must instruct the DMR (Department of Mineral Resources) to withdraw the directive. It is illegal. DMR has not been consistent,” he said.

Sibanye shares declined 5.33percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R8.88.

-BUSINESS REPORT