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AngloGold Ashanti in bitter community dispute

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Anglo Gold Ashanti Australia - Tropicana Gold Mine site - birdseye view of plant, ROM in distance at far left.

Sibongile Khumalo

A conflict over the control of a mine dump rehabilitation is brewing between a Klerksdorp community and AngloGold Ashanti which is in the process of selling-off its remaining assets in the country.

Members of the Khuma community have laid claim to a tailings project which they say was donated to them by the company, although no such transaction has taken place, according to AngloGold Ashanti.

Aggrieved members of the community fear that the dispute would be left unresolved after the conclusion of the sale of the company’s mine to Harmony which is expected to be finalised next week. At the centre of the dispute is the rehabilitation Scott Rock Dump, a waste rock produced during the mining process which has traces of gold.

While AngloGold Ashanti is still operating the site, the company says it had set up a trust fund account for the Scott Rock Dump proceeds, which are intended for the community once the potential donation of has occurred.

The mining group, on the other side believes that the project should be used to promote socio-economic activity and accuse a grouping of individuals within the community of trying to wrestle control of the project for themselves.

“The donation of the mine dump is meant for the benefit of the Khuma community as a whole and not for any single individual,” said the company.

“AngloGold Ashanti remains the owner of the dump until it has been donated to the community as a whole.”

The company said there had been numerous community disruptions at its various operations including the Scott Rock Dump since 2017, as a result the company has “not been able to process the adjacent dump, which it also owns, due to these community disruptions.”

The disputed took a new turn early this month when AngloGold Ashanti sought an interdict against members of the community, barring them from accessing the project after threats and demands were made against employees on site and the company over payments from mining activities.

It is alleged that a grouping of demanded that funds from the trust account be transferred to their attorney’s trust account. But according to Neo Marumole, one of the community members, the company which has operations in various parts of the African continent, Australia and South America of wanting to “run away” with the Trust Fund money.

“AngloGold Ashanti now wants to transfer the dump to another community,” said Marumole.

The parties are expected to appear in the Mafikeng High Court on Thursday for the interdict hearing, while an independent mediator has been appointed to help iron out differences in the matter.


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