S.African police raid mine company offices in Anglo dispute
South African police said Wednesday they had raided the offices of the government mining department and a mining company involved in a bitter dispute over prospecting rights with a unit of Anglo American.
Officers conducted “search and seizure” operations as part of an investigation into allegations that Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) was fraudulently awarded prospecting rights over a portion of a lucrative mine run by Kumba Iron Ore, a unit of Anglo American, police said.
“The operation follows criminal charges lodged by Kumba,” elite investigative squad the Hawks said in a statement.
“It is alleged that certain individuals from the Department of Mineral Resources were involved in fraudulent issuing of prospecting rights.”
Kumba has been locked in a legal battle with ICT over a 21.4 percent stake in Kumba’s Sishen iron ore mine.
ICT, which is reportedly linked to President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane, acquired rights to the 21.4 percent share after ArcelorMittal South Africa, the local unit of the world’s top steel maker, failed to re-apply for rights to the stake under new legislation requiring companies to update their mining rights.
Police said they had raided the Department of Mineral Resources’ offices in Pretoria and the central mining town of Kimberley, as well as two ICT business premises in Kimberley and a house belonging to a suspect who works for the company.
They said they had seized documents and were investigating charges of forgery, corruption and fraud.