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The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has ordered Lonmin to rectify non-compliance with the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act (MPRDA) after an audit revealed that the miner had failed to meet its its Social and Labour Plan (SLP) commitments between 2014 and 2017.

In a letter to the Bapo Ba Mogale Tribal Authority in August, the department said that it had conducted the audit, which showed that the world’s third biggest platinum producer had not complied with commitments made in 2014 - two years after 44 mineworkers died violently in what ultimately became known as the Marikana massacre.

“The finding was that Lonmin did not comply with the commitments made in their Social and Labour Plans of 2014 to 2018, the focus was however on the 2014 to 2017 commitments,” said the DMR regional office in the North West in a letter to Bapo Ba Mogale.

Business Report is in possession of a copy of the letter.

Bapo Ba Mogale, who are a host community of Lonmin mines in Rustenburg, said the miner was sitting on R300million earmarked for training locals as part of the SLP. Section 93 of the MPRDA gives the department the right to enforce compliance with the act by ordering mines to cease operations.

Lonmin spokesperson Wendy Tlou yesterday confirmed that the company had received correspondence from the DMR highlighting areas that had been identified as non compliant in its current SLP.

“We are engaging with the DMR to provide evidence of our compliance and to apply for the relevant extensions where applicable for the remaining areas where we could still be found to be behind schedule of implementation,” Tlou said.

“We are further engaging the DMR to ensure that community intervention programmes proposed are sustainable and in line with the municipal and provincial priorities for economic development.

The apparent stand-off between the DMR and Lonmin comes as mining companies face continued financial constraints because of increasing production costs and a stronger rand.

Mining companies have said that 20000 jobs are on the line.

Last year President Jacob Zuma gave Lonmin an ultimatum to give clear time lines on when it would build employees housing or face a suspension of its mining licence. Tlou said that Lonmin had submitted a housing plan to the DMR within agreed time frames.

She previously said that the entire platinum industry had experienced a sustained low pricing environment for the metals mined. “The collapse in prices has placed constraints on funding for social improvements”.

The embattled miner said last month that it planned to cut its overheads by R500m by the end of September 2018 and introduce funding partners into its K4 shaft as part of measures to weather the waning fortunes of the platinum industry.

Mining activist and president of the Mining Forum of South Africa, Blessings Ramoba, yesterday said that the Bapo Ba Mogale community did not want Lonmin to sell its shafts. “How can you sell shafts when you have not met its obligation to the community,” he said

-BUSINESS REPORT