South African tribe Ndebele Vaaltyn Tribe has accused Canadian miner Ivanhoe Mines of illegal operations at its Platreef mine development project.
AfriForum, a South African-based civil rights organization, has taken on the case of the Ndebele Vaaltyn Tribe, who brought criminal charges against Ivanplats Mines, a subsidiary of Canadian miner Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) in 2014.
Ivanplats, which is currently developing the platinum-palladium Platreef mine in Limpopo, is being accused by the tribe of illegal mining operations, violating environmental legislation and the culturally disrespectful relocation of the tribes’ historical and ancestral graves.
“AfriForum was approached in March 2017 by members of the tribe because they perceive that Ivanplats may have enjoyed unjustified protection by government officials. We are considering a private prosecution to ensure equality before the law and that the rule of law prevails,” said advocate Gerrie Nel, who will head the case.
“The allegations involve that the activities are conducted within 500 meters from the community, resulting in structural damage to houses and disturbances of the peace as blasting is frequently conducted at night,” Ndebele Vaaltyn tribe member and representative Aubrey Langa stated.
He added that the tribe is concerned over Ivanplats disregard towards the complaints that have been made regarding actions at the mine.
In response, Ivanhoe Mines announced that it is studying the details of AfriForum’s statement, but sticks by its practices, stating that it has complied with all applicable laws.
On Tuesday (May 8), the company released a media statement defending its actions with the Platreef mine development project.
“The allegations made by AfriForum and South African lawyer Gerrie Nel are completely false and aimed solely at unjustly damaging the reputation of Ivanhoe Mines and its subsidiary, Ivanplats. Ivanhoe Mines and Ivanplats categorically reject all of the allegations made today,” the company said.
Looking forward, the company plans to clear its name and continue production at the mine.
Ivanhoe Mines stated, “[we are] confident that the overwhelming majority of people in the host communities support the development of the Platreef mine.
“The company will not be held hostage by a small group of self-serving agitators whose agenda and conduct are contrary to the majority interests of the local communities that will benefit from the jobs and socio-economic development that will flow from the development of a major new underground, mechanized platinum mine,” it added.
Platreef produces high volumes of platinum group metals (PGM’s) and currently contains an estimated 41.9 million ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold with an additional 52.8 million ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold in inferred resources.
As of 3:14 p.m. EST on Wednesday (May 9), shares of Ivanhoe Mines were trading at C$3.05
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Securities Disclosure: I, Nicole Rashotte, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.