South African prosecutor Gerrie Nel, famed for winning a murder conviction against Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius, has turned his sights on a company owned by Canadian mining tycoon Robert Friedland for alleged illegalities at its South African platinum mine.
Mr. Nel, who works for South African organization AfriForum, announced on Tuesday that he is considering the private prosecution of a subsidiary of Mr. Friedland’s company, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., for alleged violations of environmental laws and other regulations.
Mr. Friedland has said that the $1.6-billion mine, which he is developing about 280 kilometres northeast of Johannesburg, will become the world’s largest and lowest-cost platinum mine. The mine’s first shaft reached a depth of 750 metres last month.
But a group of local residents has been fighting the project for years with lawsuits, protests and petitions. They asked for assistance from Mr. Nel, who visited the mine site on Tuesday and announced that he will take on the case on behalf of the residents.
“We are considering a private prosecution to ensure equality before the law and that the rule of law prevails,” Mr. Nel said in a statement released by AfriForum. “There are various contraventions – contraventions of the environmental law, contraventions of water rights and so forth.
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