Tronox And The Mtunzini Conservancy Reach Settlement On Fairbreeze Mine Dispute
EMPANGENI, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, May 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Tronox Limited (NYSE: TROX) today announced that is has reached a settlement agreement on the pending Supreme Court Application by the Mtunzini Conservancy against Tronox KZN Sands, regarding the early works program at the Fairbreeze mine project in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Under this settlement, the conservancy will not pursue its appeal on a ruling by the Durban High Court that denied an injunction to halt early-phase construction at the mining site. In turn, Tronox will not seek the court costs from the conservancy, as awarded in the High Court decision.
“We welcome this settlement and reiterate Tronox’s stance that ongoing dialogue and consultation with all stakeholders is the preferred course of communication. This approach allows everyone’s views and opinions to be taken into consideration when Tronox makes decisions which affect the future sustainability of its business within the region and the various ways it impacts the local community. A prolonged legal dispute benefits neither party, and it would divert our focus from our goals of building and operating an environmentally and economical sustainable business in the region,” said Trevor Arran, President, Tronox Mineral Sands.
On January 8 of this year, the Durban High Court dismissed with costs, an application filed by the Mtunzini Conservancy for an injunction to halt early-phase construction at the company’s Fairbreeze mine project. Subsequently, the Court granted the conservancy leave to appeal and, the conservancy approached Tronox to request a settlement be reached before it pursues lodgment of papers with the court in relation to its appeal. The terms of settlement require that Tronox pay its own legal costs emanating from the Durban High Court judgment and in exchange, the Conservancy will drop its Supreme Court of Appeal application.
The settlement is seen as a positive result for Tronox, with the High Court judgment remaining in Tronox’s favor and confirming that it acted lawfully. This provides Tronox, its employees and other stakeholders with definite confidence in respect of continuing with work in progress on early-phase construction at the Fairbreeze Mine.
Once in operation the Fairbreeze mine is expected to yield 475,000 metric tons of ilmenite and 60,000 metric tons of zircon per annum over a 12-15 year period. The Fairbreeze mine will preserve more than 1,000 permanent and contractor positions and create an additional 1,000 indirect jobs during the construction phase of the project. Approximately ZAR530 million will be spent annually on services and products, with more than half spent with black economic empowerment (BEE) companies.
Tronox is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability in all aspects of its business operations. The company has included environmental sustainability considerations in its plan for Fairbreeze and is far advanced with the rehabilitation of its Hillendale mine, which Fairbreeze is designed to replace.
Tronox is a global leader in the production and marketing of mineral sands, titanium dioxide pigment and electrolytic products. Through the integration of its pigment and mineral sands businesses, the company provides its customers a dependable supply of brightening solutions for a variety of end uses. For more information, visit http://www.tronox.com.
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SOURCE Tronox Incorporated