MTUNZINI, South Africa, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Tronox Limited (NYSE: TROX) today announced that 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 in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The point of law under inspection by the court related to whether the Fairbreeze mine had lawfully commenced mining related operations in light of provisions contained in the Town Planning Ordinance 27 of 1949.
In its judgment, the High Court affirmed Tronox's legal position that the South African Minerals Act 50 of 1991 governed mining at the commencement of the Fairbreeze project and trumped all other legislation (barring specific other national legislation) prevailing at the time. The High Court found that 1991 Minerals Act provides sufficient legislative checks and balances for government administrators to regulate the industry and that additional regulation under the Town Planning Ordinance of 1949 was not required.The High Court also ruled that the Mtunzini Conservancy must pay legal costs of Tronox which included costs of counsel in responding to the application. As a result of the judgment, Tronox continues with early-phase construction of the Fairbreeze mine. This phase entails site establishment of the platforms for the primary wet plant site as well as temporary and permanent access roads. Tronox must still obtain its Water Use License before ramping up to full-scale construction and mine operation. Once in operation the Fairbreeze mine is expected to yield 190,000 metric tons of titanium dioxide ore and 60,000 metric tons of zircon over a 12-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 has begun the rehabilitation of its Hillendale mine, which Fairbreeze is designed to replace.