SA's largest copper producer Palabora Mining (PAM) on Monday said it has been granted the conversion of its mining rights.
The company said that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) on Thursday last week approved and granted the conversion of its old order mining rights into new order mining rights in terms of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act.
While seven of Palabora's existing eight old order mining rights have been converted, a final mining right is subject to a dispute resolution process.
A year ago Palabora said it was appealing against the granting of a new mining right to a third party over an area that it was already mining.
Much like the recent Kumba Iron Ore case in which the DMR's decision to award prospecting rights over a portion of Sishen to Imperial Crown Trading, the government had granted an unnamed third party the right to mine copper, magnetite, phosphate apatite and baddeleyite in an area for which Palabora held an old order mining right to mine all base metals except phosphates.
At the time, Palabora had submitted an application for the conversion of the right.
Current mining operations were not affected by the matter, said Palabora at the time.
In the meantime, the company said the granting of the new rights allows it to move forward with its broad-based black economic empowerment transaction.
It also provides long-term stability for the business, said Palabora managing director Tony Lennox.
The signing and execution of converted mining rights will start in early 2012. - I-Net Bridge