A disagreement began between the two when it was discovered that one of them, the buyer, didn’t really have the money to reopen the mine.
Businessman Fred Arendse has been thwarted by a high court judgement from becoming the new owner of the troubled Lily Mine in Barberton.
He and owners of the Vantage Goldfields had entered into an agreement in November 2017 for his company Flaming Silver to buy a 74% stake in Vantage Goldfields. This company owns the closed Lily and Barbrook mines in the Mpumalanga area.
Vantage in March 2019 cancelled the agreement with Flaming Silver, saying that the company was failing to comply with the funding arrangement that would see the mine reopened.
Arendse had until 31 January 2018 to comply with the funding arrangement, else the deal is cancelled.
In May 2019, Arendse rushed to court after Vantage Goldfields cancelled the transfer of the 74% to his company.
Arendse is the CEO of Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation Silver and its subsidiary, Flaming Silver Trading 373 and are collectively known as the SSC Group.
The judgement, in favour of Vantage Goldfields, was made by the Mpumalanga High Court on Wednesday last week 17 Jul.
Arendse said he was studying the ruling and would definitely appeal against it.
Vantage CEO Mike McChesney said this was a major victory for his company as it became clear that Arendse didn’t really have the money to resume operations.
He said all costs regarding the matter in court will be paid by the SSC Group of Arendse as ordered by the court.
“Vantage has been vindicated by this judgment because the funding to reopen the mines was never secured by Flaming Silver as alleged,” he said.
He said the company would once again look for new investors. They were currently in contact with government for the full report charting a way forward.
The Barberton gold mine went into business rescue after it collapsed in February 2016, killing three mineworkers – Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda.
This is after the container they were working in as a lamp-room was swallowed when a shaft collapsed.
Three years later, the bodies are still trapped underground, with no sign they will ever be retrieved.
The Vantage Goldfields pleaded bankruptcy, saying about R200 million would be needed to find the bodies from the belly of the earth.
(edited by ZK)
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