JOHANNESBURG — AIM-listed African Consolidated Resources (ACR) could apply to the Attorney General in Zimbabwe for a stay of proceedings while an appeal against a judgment that an indictment against the company could not be quashed, was under way.
ACR on Monday said it had had sight of a judgment handed down on May 10, in which it was determined that an indictment against the company relating to alleged offences in connection with diamonds from the Zimbabwe-based Marange diamond fields could not be quashed, on the basis that the charges did not disclose an offence.
The miner reported in November 2010 that they had been charged with the alleged offences, following a High Court judgment by Justice Charles Hungwe in September 2010, which rescinded his own judgment of September 2009, which determined that the company’s title to its diamond claims at Marange were valid.
“The company has appealed against the rescission judgment, but has not pressed prosecution of the appeal in its effort to reach an amicable settlement with the Zimbabwe government,” ACR said.
The miner had argued that the indictment should be quashed, as any hearing in relation to it would be fundamentally affected by the results of the appeal.
While the judge decided that the indictment could not be quashed, he indicated that it might be appropriate for the company to apply for a stay of proceedings until the appeal was determined.
ACR said it now intended to apply for such a stay.
ACR chairperson Roy Tucker said the company had been legally advised that the charges contained in the indictment were groundless.
“ACR has, at all times, acted both honestly and transparently in all matters, both concerning its acquisition of the Marange claims and its defending of title thereto. We iterate our desire to work with government to resolve the Marange issue in a way that is fair to ACR and the people of Zimbabwe,” he commented.
Tucker believed the judgement was the result of the normal functioning of the courts and did not represent any new initiative by the Zimbabwe government.
“The company’s focus in Zimbabwe is investing significant funds into the Pickstone gold mine, which is planned to be in production by the end of the first half of next year,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, ACR further told shareholders that it had received a letter of intent from an unnamed major listed copper miner inviting ACR to participate in exploration and mining opportunities in Romania.
This was the result of several preliminary assessments carried out by the company since October 2012 to investigate possible exploration opportunities in that country.
ACR had also signed a memorandum of understanding with Romania’s State mining company Remin SA, under which ACR had the exclusive right to carry out due diligence and evaluation of Remin’s entire polymetallic mineral interests, which included copper and gold, until October 29.
As the resource and development company accelerated the commercialisation of its African operations, ACR CE Craig Hutton said the board would continue to evaluate all options regarding future development in Romania.
“This opportunity is consistent with our previously stated strategic intention of refocusing the company to becoming a significant multi-commodity development and mining company,” he said in a statement.