RioZim wins mine battle

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Tarisai Machakaire

SENIOR STAFF WRITER

machakairet@dailynews.co.zw

THE Supreme Court has resolved a long-standing battle between RioZim Limited (RioZim) and the Ministry of Defence over a mine which the latter grabbed in 2018, arguing it was located in a military zone. 

The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Luke Malaba, Tendai Uchena and George Chiweshe upheld an appeal by RioZim against Defence minister Opah Muchinguri-Kashiri following the takeover.

“RioZim has won its long drawn out dispute with the army and a company controlled by Pakistan nationals called Falcon Resources.

“The dispute pertains to RioZim’s chrome claims situated in Darwendale.

“The military had cordoned off the area and given it to Falcon Resources, which has been aggressively mining chrome,” RioZim’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu said after the court hearing yesterday.

Mpofu said the judgment was delivered ex tempore and full details would be provided in due course.

“The unanimous view of the courts is that the judgment of the High Court is clearly wrong. Accordingly, the appeal succeeds and the judgment is set aside with costs.”

During the court challenges, RioZim alleged that the military was using two companies as proxies, including a company called Rusununguko Nkululeko (Private) Limited.

According to RioZim’s chief geologist, Patrick Takaedza, the decision was unlawful and irrational.

In an application in which Muchinguri-Kashiri and Mines minister Winston Chitando were cited as first and second respondents respectively, the company said it is a holder of 260 mining claims in the Darwendale area of Mashonaland West province.

“On 3rd of August 2018, the first respondent (Muchinguri) acting in terms of Section 89 of the Defence Act… published a notice, which notice was to be cited as the Defence (cantonments) Notice 2018 (No. 51).

“The notice stipulated that the area described in the schedule shall be a cantonment for the purposes of Part IX of the Act,” Takaedza said.

He told the court that the Defence minister’s decision was not carried out lawfully, reasonably and in a fair manner.

“The deficiencies in the decision are understood better after appreciating the background relationship between the applicant and the first respondent’s proxies.

“On the 19th of February 2018, a company called Falcon Resources (Private) Limited wrote a letter to the applicant in which it requested that the applicant grant it a tribute in respect of the applicant’s chrome ore claims in Darwendale, curiously indicating that these claims must be 10 kilometres away from an area which they described as Darwendale Military Zone.

“The applicant did not respond to this letter as it did not and does not intend to tribute any of its chrome ore claims to the said Falcon Resources (Private) Limited or any other entity,” Takaedza further told the court.

According to court papers, RioZim later heard on May 30, 2018, that mining activities were being carried out at its claims in Darwendale.

“The applicant carried out investigations at the site and discovered that there was indeed mining activity taking place and it was being carried on by Falcon Resources (Private) Limited in conjunction with Rusununguko Nkululeko (Private) Limited.”

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