Judge overturns halt in Ivanhoe grave relocations in South Africa – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – February 20, 2017)


JOHANNESBURG — A South African judge has overturned a court injunction at a huge Canadian-owned platinum project, saying that any delay to the project would cause “significant prejudice” to the company and the local community.

The judge reversed an earlier court order, issued last November, that had halted the exhuming and relocating of dozens of ancestral graves at the site where Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is developing a $1.6-billion platinum mine.

Hundreds of community members have been fighting against the mine for years. But the company says the project would provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs, along with education and training opportunities and a local ownership trust.

The Platreef project by the Vancouver-based company is “one of the most significant foreign direct investments into the South African economy in recent years,” Judge John Murphy said in his ruling for the High Court in Pretoria.

“It has the potential to be developed into the largest underground platinum mine in the world, yielding very significant benefits to the South African economy,” he said.

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