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Aquila Steel (S Africa) (Pty) Limited v Minister of Mineral Resources and Others (CCT08/18) [2019] ZACC 5

15th February 2019

Click here to read the full judgment on Saflii

[1] This is an application for leave to appeal against a judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal,[1] overturning by a majority a judgment of the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria (High Court).[2]  The applicant, Aquila Steel (S Africa) (Pty) Limited (Aquila), is a locally incorporated subsidiary of an Australian resources company.  Aquila was the applicant before the High Court and the first respondent in the Supreme Court of Appeal.  The first to fourth respondents in this Court are the Minister of Mineral Resources and three officials of the Department of Mineral Resources (Department) responsible for implementing the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act[3] (MPRDA).  It is their decisions under the statute that Aquila targets in this litigation.

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[2] Aquila’s corporate antagonists, who resist its relief against the departmental decisions, are the Pan African Mineral Development Company Limited (PAMDC – fifth respondent), a private company owned by the governments of Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa; and ZiZa Limited (ZiZa – sixth respondent), a company incorporated in the United Kingdom.  ZiZa was originally incorporated in 1893, as the Bechuanaland Railway Company Limited.  Cecil John Rhodes was the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. As part of his colonial design, he made land grants to the company.  More than a century later, ZiZa is now owned – as its name suggests – by the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia.  PAMDC was incorporated in South Africa on 26 November 2007 to take over the prospecting activities of ZiZa.  (Since their interests match, I refer, except where necessary, to PAMDC and ZiZa together as ZiZa.) 

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