by Feb 12, 2024Mining

Q1: Can you share a bit about your background and experience in the mining, infrastructure, and natural resources sector?

I have accumulated 10 years of experience in the mining, infrastructure, and natural resources sector. My expertise lies in mining regulatory compliance, high court litigation, and the commercial interplay between these key areas. Over the years, I have been actively involved in assisting major stakeholders in the mining industry with various matters concerning their business.

Q2: What is your particular focus within your legal practice, and what aspects of the mining industry are you most passionate about?

My primary focus is on mining regulatory compliance, including the relevant aspects of environmental law that are coupled with that. I am particularly passionate about advising on matters related to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). I find great satisfaction in guiding clients through various regulatory challenges in the mining sector. 

Q3: Can you provide examples of how you’ve assisted clients with MPRDA-related matters, such as submissions and regulatory compliance?

Certainly. I have advised numerous clients on MPRDA-related regulatory matters, including providing advice on:

  • how to respond to notices and/or directives issued under section 47 and section 93 of the MPRDA;
  • processes related to various applications made under the MPRDA, including applications in terms of sections 11, 53, and 102;
  • what constitutes meaningful public participation when conducting the requisite consultation process, after acceptance of a mining or prospecting right;
  • the order of processing of applications by the DMRE;
  • conflicting rights which have been granted and/or applications which have been accepted in terms of the MPRDA.
  • Additionally, I have also assisted clients with challenging administrative actions and/or decisions of the DMRE, through both the internal appeal process followed in terms of section 96 of the MPRDA and by review application initiated in the High Court.

Q4: Your experience includes legal due diligence investigations on mining operations. Could you elaborate on that and its significance in the industry?

Legal due diligence is crucial for understanding the legal aspects of mining operations and assets. For example, before concluding any type of transaction relating to the acquisition of a mining operation or asset, there are fundamental issues that I would usually consider, such as the validity of the right concerned, whether the right is due for renewal or not (with specific regard to the Mawetse judgment), whether there have been any challenges to the grant of the right and whether any competent authority/ies has/ve issued any directive/s which may hinder or prevent the day-to-day operations of the business.

Over the years, I’ve conducted thorough investigations into various mining assets and have used those findings to provide practical advice to clients before concluding commercial agreements for the disposal and/or acquisition of such assets. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape before any transactions take place.

Q5: How have you navigated shareholders’ disputes and disputes relating to complex commercial agreements in court proceedings for mining houses?

Disputes of this nature arise often in the mining industry, given the nature of the business and the values of some of the commercial agreements concluded. I’ve initiated, opposed and managed a number of different court proceedings for mining houses over the years. Navigating shareholders’ disputes and disputes relating to complex commercial agreements requires significant amounts of planning, preparation, and strategy development from the outset. Often these disputes can take years to resolve, but each matter is unique, and we strive towards providing solutions to our clients that are practical and relevant to their particular business. The only way to do this is and to navigate these types of disputes in a way that it is least disruptive to the business of our clients is to ensure that we have an in-depth understanding of the facts, the law and the practical difficulties experienced by our client.  

Q6: In your role as a notary and conveyancer, how have you assisted mining clients?

As a notary and conveyancer, I’ve assisted clients with the notarial execution, lodgement, and registration of various deeds in the Mineral and Petroleum Titles Registration Office (“MPTRO”), as contemplated in terms of the MPRDA and the Mining Titles Registration Act, 1967. This requires an understanding not only of the MPRDA and MTRA but also of notarial and conveyancing practice. In addition, each stage (execution, lodgement and registration) of a mining or prospecting right, is important to understand as it affects the holder’s security of tenure.   

Q7: Could you share your experience from being seconded to a major mining company? How has this shaped your understanding of practical challenges faced by such clients?

Being seconded to a major mining company provided invaluable insights into the practical difficulties faced by clients. This experience has enhanced my approach to legal advice, emphasizing a balance between the client’s needs and the requirements prescribed by the law.

Q8: In closing, what insights can you provide your clients in relation to the year ahead and trends relating to the MPRDA?

As we look ahead, it’s essential for our clients to focus on heightened regulatory compliance. Emphasizing sustainability, technological integration, and proactive community engagement will be key trends this year. Adapting to global economic influences is crucial. This year will be a disruptive one for all industries, and all South Africans, with the elections taking place which we will navigate together with our clients. I am dedicated to providing strategic legal counsel, ensuring compliance and positioning our clients for success in the dynamic mining industry.