It is reported that Kumba Iron Ore gave some reasons as to why it shouldn't be compelled to supply iron ore to ArcelorMittal SA at a discount, arguing its obligation to the steelmaker had lapsed at the destruction of ArcelorMittal SA's 21.4% mineral right over Sishen mine.
The arguments was delivered during the North Gauteng High Court case over the present status of the 21.4% old order mineral right which ArcelorMittal SA held prior to April 30th 2009. By virtue of the right, ArcelorMittal SA was entitled to the delivery of 6.25 million tonnes per year of iron ore mined from Sishen at a price of cost plus 3%.
Delivering arguments on the legal effect of Kumba subsidiary Sishen Iron Ore Company's successful conversion of its 78.6% older order right and ArcelorMittal SA's failure to do so, Kumba's Senior Counsel Mr Chris Loxton said the old order rights had in effect placed a limitation upon each holder’s right to dispose, at a profit, of what was mined.
Mr Loxton said that "For so long as ArcelorMittal SA continued to own a 21.4% undivided share of the right to iron ore, SIOC would have been obliged to account to ArcelorMittal SA for its share of what it mined. That obligation arose from ArcelorMittal SA' right of ownership in the severed ore. The question which arises is what the consequences are of the destruction of ArcelorMittal SA's undivided 21.4% share in the right to iron ore by virtue of the provisions of the MPRDA."
He added that "The effect of that destruction is that since the right to a share of the iron ore mined was from May 1st 2009 no longer held by anyone, neither did SIOC's obligation to account to some person for 21.4% of such iron ore survive."
Mr Loxton said that it was important to note that this consequence didn’t results because SIOC had by some process acquired ArcelorMittal SA' share of the right to iron ore. The same result would have followed had ArcelorMittal SA waived its right to a share of the ore mined by SIOC.
He added that "Since the right to a share of the iron ore mined was no longer held by anyone, neither did SIOC's obligation to account to some person for 21.4% of such iron ore survive."