Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

Kumba Iron Ore Seeks South Africa Talks Over Mining-Right Terms

  • Anglo American unit mulling implications of Sishen right
  • Sishen is biggest African mine for the steelmaking ingredient

Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. said it will seek talks with South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources over conditions that the country attached to granting the Anglo American Plc unit a 21.4 percent right for the continent’s biggest mine for the steelmaking ingredient.

Kumba, which already holds a 78.6 percent title over the Sishen mine in the Northern Cape province, received consent for the entire claim subject to certain “proposals,” the Pretoria-based company said in a statement Tuesday. The partial right was the subject of legal disputes until 2013, when South Africa’s highest court said Kumba was the only party capable of applying for the minority stake.

The company is “currently considering the terms of the consent and the legal and practical implications of the proposed conditions,” Kumba said in its statement. Once the producer has “had an opportunity to engage fully with the Department of Mineral Resources in this regard and to consider the precise meaning and scope of the proposed conditions, shareholders will be updated.”

Nikki Wetzlar, a Kumba spokeswoman, declined to comment when contacted by phone on whether the conditions were additional to the usual terms set by the ministry for the granting of a right. Ayanda Shezi, a spokeswoman for the department, couldn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone.

South Africa’s conditional consent to the right comes as Kumba battles a 31 percent decline in iron-ore prices this year amid a glut of the steelmaking ingredient as the largest producers including Rio Tinto Plc and Vale SA increase output while economic growth slows in China, the biggest customer.

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