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Sishen mine saga draws to close

Following a lengthy dispute surrounding the Sishen Mine, Kumba Iron Ore this week announced that it had been granted approval for a 21% stake in Africa’s biggest iron mine. This follows a 7 year battle to have it recognised as part owner.
The rights Kumba had just been awarded previously were assigned to Imperial Crown Trading. 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(SIOC),” Kumba said in a statement previously.
Themba Mkhwanazi, CEO of Kumba, said, “Kumba welcomes the news of being awarded the residual right for the Sishen mine. As our track record shows clearly, Kumba is fully committed to transformation and will continue contributing towards the achievement of South Africa’s developmental objectives. We appreciate the work of the Department of Mineral Resources in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion.”
While it has claimed a victory on one front, Mkhwanazi’s Kumba braces for another battle with the South African Revenue Services which claims Kumba owes N$1 billion in tax claims. SIOC received a R5.5-billion tax assessment from SARS for the 2006 to 2010 tax years, which includes N$3.7-billion in interest and penalties. In 2015, a year of sharp iron-ore price fall, the company contributed N$900-million in corporate taxes and mineral royalties, N$4.7-billion in salaries and wages, N$15.2-billion in local procurement and N$174-million in Corporate Social Responsibility.

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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.