JOHANNESBURG Oct 13 South Africa's Kumba Iron
Ore has won full control of its largest mine, the firm
said on Thursday, after a seven-year dispute was resolved.
The mines department last year awarded Kumba, a unit of
Anglo American, the 21.4 percent of the mining rights it
did not already hold in the Sishen mine, but attached
conditions, which the firm had appealed against.
The appeals process has now been completed, Kumba said,
after it accepted some conditions, such as a requirement to
maintain a supply agreement with steel producer ArcelorMittal
Until 2009, Kumba and ArcelorMittal respectively held 78.6
percent and 21.4 percent of the mining rights in Sishen, which
guaranteed iron ore supply to the steelmaker's mills.
Like other South African mining companies, Kumba was
compelled by a law that took effect in 2004 to re-apply for the
mining rights to Sishen, but ArcelorMittal missed the deadline.
The government awarded the steelmaker's rights to Imperial
Crown Trading (ICT), which had ties to officials in the ruling
African National Congress at the time and little experience in
mining, drawing criticism from analysts and investors.
Kumba took legal action and in 2013 the Constitutional Court
ruled that the iron ore producer's Sishen unit was the only firm
that could apply for the rights.
"The Department of Mineral Resources has, after taking all
the relevant considerations into account, granted the residual
21.4 undivided share of the mining right for the Sishen mine to
Kumba's subsidiary, Sishen Iron Ore Company," Kumba said.
The Sishen mine, located in the arid northwestern part of
the country, produced 31 million tonnes of iron ore last year.
Shares in Kumba were up 3 percent at 129.91 rand by 0846 GMT
as Chinese data pointed to firm steel demand.
(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by James Macharia and Elaine