Blyvoor saga continues as fight goes to appeal court

June 15, 2014 Posted by admin

A COURT battle between the liquidators of Blyvooruitzicht and Goldrich Holdings is heading for the Supreme Court of Appeal, further delaying a possible sale of the mine and outstanding payments to workers.

Mahier Tayob, a business-rescue practitioner who took control of the affairs of Goldrich at the end of February, said he was hoping to get the Supreme Court of Appeal to set aside a high court ruling that the sale agreement between Goldrich and the Blyvoor liquidators had lapsed due to nonpayment.

“We are drafting papers,” he said.

Liquidators, who have been trying since January to cancel the deal with Goldrich, cannot sell any nonmovable assets at the mine while the court process continues.

Movable assets, such as scrap, can be sold with the permission of Tayob to cover running costs.

Tayob wants to keep the Blyvoor deal alive to pay Goldrich creditors, excluding the liquidators, to the tune of R10m.

Goldrich bought Blyvoor for R70m in December, payable in instalments. It paid R11.4m before the deal was set aside, court records show.

Before it was placed under business rescue, Goldrich was run by Fazel Bhana and Thulani Ngubane, key players in the Aurora Empowerment Systems debacle.

Aurora ran Pamodzi’s Grootvlei and Orkney mines into the ground from 2009 to 2011, leaving thousands of workers destitute and causing significant damage to mine assets and the environment.

The legal delay regarding the Blyvoor sale is causing further damage to the mine’s assets, with Five Shaft, the only remaining operational shaft when the mine went into liquidation at the end of last July, already flooded.

The lack of money to deal with water pumping and treatment has led to various ecological breaches at Blyvoor, most disconcertingly water contaminated with uranium flowing into the Wonderfonteinspruit. This water will eventually end up in the Boskop Dam, which supplies water to Potchefstroom.

Significant damage has also been caused at the processing plant, Blyvoor’s most attractive asset, where illegal miners have been removing gold-bearing material.

Clashes between illegal miners and guards have led to several deaths since December.

Leigh Roering, one of the Blyvoor liquidators, said it was “virtually impossible” to guard the plant, where a “fair bit of zama (illegal miners) activity continues. The zamas are very aggressive”.

The liquidators were keen to finalise court processes to find other buyers for Blyvoor or parts of it, Roering said. It had spent significant resources on legal fees to set aside the Blyvoor deal, he said.

This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times

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