Salt-mine squabble drags on

A salt-mining concession at Henties Bay is the bone of contention between two small-scale miners who both claim to have mining rights there.

20 March 2017 | Business

An ownership battle over a Henties Bay salt mine appears to be dragging on with no end in sight.

Small miner Petrus Iimbodi says his rights to the mining concession have been stripped fraudulently by another small-scale mining entity, Cape Cross Namibia Investment.

Iimbodi claims that although he is the rightful owner of the concession, none of his attempts at mining salt took off.

Telling his side of the story, Iimbodi said: “I went to the Ministry of Mines and Energy two weeks ago to follow up on the ownership of the mine. I have had no answer to that effect.”

According to Iimbodi, the concession was transferred to his company, Cape Cross Salt (Pty) Limited, by the Small Miners Assistance Centre in 2002 for an initial 10 years which was renewable for another 10.

Iimbodi also claimed that Cape Cross Namibia Investment did not have the necessary registration documents that would enable it to own a mining licence.

“What does not make sense to me is that the same entity [Small Miners Assistance Centre] also transferred the concession to Cape Cross Namibia Investment.

“They have said that the mining rights were transferred to them by the Small Miners Assistance Centre and have claimed that they have an agreement with the Employee Equity Trust, which is the employees of the salt mine's equity stake.”

Questioning the legality of Cape Cross Namibia Investment's existence as a company Iimbodi asked: “How can a mining licence be granted to a company that does not have a year of incorporation? How will the Small Miners Assistance Centre turn around and breach an [earlier] agreement with Cape Cross Salt? This means that the claim should never have gone through. Cape Cross Salt exists and it should be mine.”

Iimbodi also claimed that although he had made repeated attempts to resolve the issue with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, nothing has happened.

“The ministry never consulted us about these developments. The ministry has given a licence to another small miner despite an outstanding arrangement with us.”

According to Iimbodi, he would like to resolve the matter but the rival company was not willing to negotiate.

Cape Cross Namibia Investment has denied the allegations and claim they are the rightful owners.

Namibian Sun spoke to one of Cape Cross Namibia's directors, Lamech Mwanyangapo, who shot down Iimbodi's claims.

“Last year they went to the court; what did the court say? Who does Mining Licence 147 belong to and for what purposes? I think I must also go to court. If they are the owners of the mine, they must just mine,” Mwanyangapo said.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy did not respond to emails asking for comment on the matter.

OGONE TLHAGE

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