VANCOUVER, CANADA – The following statement by Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; OTCQX: IVPAF) has been issued in response to a Media Statement published on May 8, 2018, by AfriForum, a South Africa-based organization, containing false and unsubstantiated allegations concerning the Platreef mine being developed by Ivanplats, Ivanhoe's 64%-owned South African subsidiary, and the repetition of those statements in an article by Geoffrey York published online by the Globe and Mail newspaper.
The false and unsubstantiated claims made by AfriForum follow a similar pattern of deliberate misinformation that has been disseminated regarding the Platreef mine development project. Ivanhoe Mines will again correct and restate the facts for the benefit of shareholders, the media and the public at large as it has done previously on February 2, 2017; December 5, 2016; June 7, 2016; May 19, 2016; November 26, 2014; and October 8, 2014. The links to Ivanhoe Mines' prior statements can be found at the end of this Statement.
The allegations made by AfriForum and South African lawyer Gerrie Nel are completely false and aimed solely at unjustly damaging the reputation of Ivanhoe Mines and its subsidiary, Ivanplats. Ivanhoe Mines and Ivanplats categorically reject all of the allegations made today. Mr. Nel unfortunately has accepted the discredited views of Aubrey Langa apparently without any investigation or independent review. Mr. Langa previously has been convicted by South African courts of furnishing false information, robbery and attempted murder. Mr. Langa is recognized only for waging what one prominent South African newspaper has described as his "single-minded campaign" against the Platreef mine through whatever misinformation is available to him.
Ivanhoe Mines is a broadly held, Toronto Stock Exchange-listed public company. Ivanplats is a South Africa-based subsidiary company that is 64%-owned by Ivanhoe Mines, 26%-owned by South African broad-based black economic empowerment partners – including 20% belonging to 20 local communities with a combined population of approximately 150,000, 3% in the hands of historically disadvantaged project employees and a further 3% held by local entrepreneurs. The final 10% is owned by a Japanese consortium. The Platreef mine will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs through the construction and production phases and provide tremendous economic and social benefits to the local communities and surrounding region in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
AfriForum appears to have ignored Ivanhoe Mines' well-documented past discrediting of Mr. Langa's allegations. In recent months Ivanplats also had made several attempts to reach Mr. Nel to ascertain whether he is representing Mr. Langa, with a view to meeting and discussing the issues and allegations raised today. Instead, Mr. Nel and AfriForum chose to issue their statement today solely on the basis of Mr. Langa's unsubstantiated, false and already discredited allegations.
Ivanhoe Mines and Ivanplats at all times have complied with all legal requirements relating to the exploration, development and construction of the Platreef mine. The allegation that they have engaged in illegal mining, breached environmental laws and unlawfully relocated graves, among other allegations, are completely false. Ivanplats has been vindicated by the South African courts against Mr. Langa on a number of these claims in the past. Ivanplats did obtain all the necessary permissions to relocate certain graves and reached detailed agreements with all affected families, including a provision for all cultural and religious observances.
A summary of the grave-relocation process is provided in Ivanhoe Mines' 2017 Sustainability Report, on page 52, available at: https://www.ivanhoemines.com/investors/sustainability-report/.
No government agencies in South Africa have taken any adverse legal steps against Ivanplats, despite having been subjected to a significant number of investigations instigated by Mr. Langa. If Mr. Langa's and now AfriForum's allegations had any basis in fact or law, this would not have been the result; yet Mr. Langa and Mr. Nel now continue to waste state resources with these continuing allegations that already have been proven false. There is simply nothing new in AfriForum's allegations made today other than the use of Mr. Nel to provide a façade of credibility to discredited claims.
Ivanhoe Mines does encourage Mr. Nel and AfriForum to undertake a very careful and detailed review of the Platreef project development. Doing so will confirm that Ivanplats has painstakingly and carefully proceeded through the development process in an entirely lawful manner and has received all required permits and approvals. In addition, Ivanplats has been sensitive to the needs of the local host communities and has extensively consulted with those communities and their traditional leadership structures in moving the Platreef project through the permitting and development process.
Ivanhoe Mines is confident that the overwhelming majority of people in the host communities support the development of the Platreef mine. The company will not be held hostage by a small group of self-serving agitators whose agenda and conduct are contrary to the majority interests of the local communities that will benefit from the jobs and socio-economic development that will flow from the development of a major new underground, mechanized platinum mine.
1. October 8, 2014
2. November 26, 2014
3. May 19, 2016
4. June 7, 2016
5. December 5, 2016
6. February 2, 2017
Bill Trenaman +1.604.331.9834
North America: Bob Williamson +1.604.512.4856
South Africa: Jeremy Michaels +27.82.772.1122