By: Wonder Guchu
The High Court of Namibia will release a written judgement in the case where the Canadian company Deep South Resources is suing mines minister Tom Alweendo for refusing to renew theHaib Mine exploration and prospecting licence.
The Haib copper-molybdenum mine lies in the Karas region in the exclusive prospecting licence 3140 (EPL 3140).
The copper deposit is the oldest porphyry deposit in the world, which hosts easily identifiable porphyry veins and alteration.
Deep-South Resources is a mineral exploration company, primarily held by management and directors with 12% of Deep-South share capital and by Teck Resources Ltd with 16%.
The mines ministry granted Deep South Resources the Exclusive Prospecting licence 3140 (EPL) over 74,563.0 ha covering the deposit and vast surroundings in 2004.
The licence was subsequently renewed in April 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, reducing the area to 37,000ha after the 2007 renewal.
Alweendo refused to renew the company’s Haib Copper Licence in June 2021, saying that it had failed to advance the licence to the prefeasibility study (PFS) stage and complete a proposed drill programme.
However, Deep South Resources argued that there was a misunderstanding about a proposed change from a PFS to an upgraded preliminary economic assessment (PEA) to be done instead.
According to the company, the mines ministry was kept abreast of the proposed changes.
The case hearing was delayed when the mines ministry’s counsel failed to file their defence affidavit and requested a 10-day extension in April 2022.
The Ministry’s counsel said that Alweendo had been out of the country since 5 April 2022 and was only to return to his office on 25 April 2022. Deep-South’s legal counsel indicated they would be amenable to an extension until 29 April 2022.
The mines ministry finally filed its defence affidavit on 17 May 2022, and a hearing was held on 18 May 2022. The judge ordered Deep South Resources’ attorneys to file their replying affidavit by 3 June 2022.
The judge also ordered a Case Management hearing to be held on 23 June 2022. The Case Management hearing serves to prepare for the final hearing.
Deep South Resources could not meet the 3 June deadline after the company’s chairperson John Akwenye’s death. The company filed the company response to the defence affidavit on 15 June 2022. The Case Management hearing was set for 23 June 2022.
After the hearing held on 23 June 2022, the court ordered the parties to file their Case Management report by 27 June 2022 ahead of the next Case Management hearing will be held on 30 June 2022.
At the hearing held on 30 June 2022, the court ordered Haib Minerals (Deep-South wholly owned subsidiary) to file its heads of argument 15 days (12 September 2022) before the hearing.
The court further ordered the mines minister and the other respondents must file their heads of argument ten days (19 September 2022) before the hearing.
The hearing was then heard on 3 and 4 October 2022.