A court dispute between South Africa’s Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources about black shareholdings in mining companies started on Tuesday with arguments by a third party that seeks to set aside the country’s Mining Charter.
Malan Scholes Inc., a Johannesburg-based legal firm, is asking the High Court in Pretoria to be allowed to consolidate its case with that of the chamber, arguing there are similarities between its application and that of the mines lobby.
The chamber, which represents South Africa’s largest mining companies including Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc, and the department are opposing Malan Scholes’ bid for a joint hearing.
The hearing is getting under way after the chamber asked the court to back its view that the Mining Charter stipulates companies should be credited with disposing at least of 26 percent of their assets to black investors, even if those stake were later resold. The mines department says that companies should maintain black shareholding above the threshold at all times.
Should the cases be heard separately, another court may rule in favor of the Scholes application, which “could make a lot of the findings in the chamber application” irrelevant, Leon Bekker, senior counsel for Malan Scholes, said in court.
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