Delay in reopening Lily Mine 'regrettable' – SCA
Business rescue practitioners of Mpumalanga's Lily and Barbrook mines will have to draft new plans to reopen the mines since their closure seven years ago.
Vantage Goldfields's Lily mine in Mpumalanga that collapsed in February 2016. Photo: File BUSINESSBusiness rescue practitioners of Mpumalanga's Lily and Barbrook mines will have to draft new plans to reopen the mines since their closure seven years ago.This is according to a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment after the Australian owner of the mines in Louieville near Barberton, Vantage Goldfields (VGO), appealed a Mpumalanga High Court order which found that the business rescue practitioners - Rob Devereux and Daniel Terblanche - had been wrong to unilaterally amend the business plans to favour VGO.The practitioners were expected to draft new business rescue plans on January 20 2021, which were based on an offer by miner Arqomanzi for creditors to vote on but changed their minds after VGO sold its 98% stake to Macquarie Metals and announced that it was no longer selling and was ready to reopen the mines.Lily was closed in 2016 after a sinkhole opened at its shaft's entrance and buried three workers who were in a container office. Barbrook, a sister mine, was closed a few months later as it relied on Lily Mine. The SCA issued its judgment on December 22 and upheld the final interdict against the implementation of VGO's proposal but did set aside parts of the Mpumalanga High Court's order. 'The SCA judgment,' said Arqomanzi director Neil Herrick, 'means that the business rescue practitioners will have to start with brand-new plans. They therefore cannot make any unilateral amendments. 'VGO CEO Mike McChesney did not respond to a request to comment, while Devereux did not answer his phone.READ: Hawkish view of economy as inflation and global shocks set inJudge Leonie Windell said that the replacement of the funder or the funding model was not merely an administrative amendment. 'It is central to the plan. The adopted plans could not be implemented because of a lack of funds. The practitioners were not entitled to amend the adopted plans in the manner they did. 'Windell said that the delay in the finalisation of the business rescue plan was regrettable:The matter cries out for finality to be reached. It is devoutly to be hoped that all the parties involved allow this urgency to inform their conduct and that they will cooperate to the maximum extent possible to bring finality to the business rescue proceedings one way or another.Windell said that business rescue proceedings were intended to provide for the efficient rescue and recovery of financially distressed companies, in a manner that balanced the rights and interests of all relevant stakeholders. We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed.