Africa Mining: Lonmin says licence not at risk after SA Ministry warning

Image courtesy by Lonmin PLC

The South African mines ministry has told platinum miner Lonmin that it failed to meet some of its social and labour obligations, the producer said on Tuesday, but added it did not think its operating licence was in jeopardy.

The London-listed miner received a letter last week from South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources detailing the areas that the miner had neglected, company spokeswoman Wendy Tlou said.

Mining companies in South Africa are supposed to comply with a number of social and labour regulations, including providing proper housing, to help a mostly black labour force that was exploited and ill-treated under apartheid.

Failure to meet these requirements could result in a miner’s operating licence being withdrawn.

A spokeswoman for the mines ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Tlou did not specify which requirements Lonmin had not met but said the company was talking to the government and would ask for extensions where applicable.

“Everybody is concerned that we do meet the requirement to retain your licence to operate,” Tlou said.

“It’s not something that is causing us massive worry,” she added.

In 2016 South African President Jacob Zuma threatened to revoke Lonmin’s mining permit if it failed to build houses for its workers.

Meanwhile, Lonmin is still struggling with operational and financial problems caused by persistently low prices and labour disputes. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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