BLACK Royalty Minerals (BRM) was “ready to operationalise” Koornfontein Coal Mine (KCM) after the High Court dismissed applications seeking to interdict the transfer of the mine from business rescue to BRM’s control.
Ndavhe Mareda, chairman of Makole Group of which BRM is a part, said the “hard work” of getting the Mpumalanga province coal mine back into production would now begin. In addition to winning control of KCM, BRM will have some 1.5 million tons a year coal export entitlement through Richards Bay Coal Terminal.
“BRM is ready to operationalise the mine, for the benefit of workers, the surrounding community and businesses as well as for the advancement of local economic activity,” said Mareda in a statement today. “Now that the cases are behind us, the real work of getting the mine operational again can begin.”
KCM was placed in business rescue in 2018 after then owner, Tegeta Exploration & Resources ran into financial difficulties. However, attempts to secure a new buyer for the mine proved difficult with one bidding process rejected by the mine’s creditors.
A second process was initiated last year in which bidders could submit offers for KCM and its sister mine, Optimum Coal Mine (OCM), or for each mine individually.
BRM beat rival bids from Ochid Mining-Smada and Lurco Group with the latter contesting the award in court saying that eleventh hour conditions imposed by the business rescue practitioners were unlawful and prejudicial to KCM, especially as Lurco had submitted a higher offer.
BRM had been “… inundated with numerous interdicts and court applications to disrupt or halt the sale process” including legal objections by Lurco Group, Charles King SA – an entity thought to be related to Tegeta via the web of companies owned by the Gupta family – and a third entity, Westdawn Investments.
“These interdicts were argued in front of Judge Matojane on 27 January 2020,” said BRM. “Judgment was passed on 28 January 2020 with Judge Matojane dismissing all three interdict applications with costs,” it said.
Mareda said he was “relieved that the court cases have been finalised and legal certainty prevailed”.
The bidding process for OCM is still underway, however, with Lurco Group said it would take measures to ensure that last minute conditions were not imposed by the business practitioner in this instance.
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