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Govt to review Sishen mine prospecting right

South Africa’s Mining Ministry said on Tuesday it would review a decision to award a new prospecting right in Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen Mine.

Kumba, a unit of global miner Anglo American, last week appealed against the granting of a prospecting right in its Sishen mine to Imperial Crown Trading.

Imperial’s directors include Gugu Mtshali, who was formerly the personal assistant to ANC treasurer Matthews Phosa, and reportedly romantically involved with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The company was awarded prospecting rights over a 21,4% share of rights to the Sishen mine, the rest of which are owned by the Sishen Iron Ore Company (SIOC), a subsidiary of Kumba.

SIOC already mines 100% of the property. Prior to the announcement of the investigation by the Depart of Minerals (DMR), the department stated that Sishen had applied for the mining rights to the remaining 21,4% share on the same day that Imperial Crown Trading applied for the prospecting rights in May 2009.

“Having perused the written representations by Sishen Iron Ore Company … the department is of the view that the company’s concerns warrant further investigation into the legal and technical aspects of the matter,” Thabo Gazi, acting Deputy Director General of mineral regulation at the Department of Mineral Resources, said in a statement.

He said after the internal review, the matter would be referred to the minister for a final decision.

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