KWEKWE-BASED chrome smelting company Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco) has accused ChinaZim International Mineral Corporation (Pvt) Ltd of conducting unauthorised mining activities on its Midlands province claims and stealing chrome ore worth over $1 million.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Through its judicial manager, Reggie Saruchera, Zimasco approached the High Court seeking to compel ChinaZim to pay $1 067 139,76 for lost business and stolen chrome ore and $557 031,77 for the cost that will be incurred by Zimasco in mining the remaining amount of 50 018 tonnes of chrome ore on the claims between the six-metre depth and design depth of 18 metres.
In its application, Zimasco also cited ChinaZim International Mineral Corporation (Pvt) Ltd director and chief operating officer, Ou Lin as a co-defendant.
“The plaintiff (Zimasco) is the holder of mining claims known as Aver 21, 22 and 27 situated in the CSC area in the Midlands Province. On May 22, 2016 the plaintiff discovered that the defendants (ChinaZim and Lin) acting jointly and in common purpose had, without any lawful authority, carried out mining activities by extracting and stealing chrome ore on the plaintiff’s Aver 21, 22 and 27 claims,” Zimasco said in its affidavit.
“The second defendant, additionally as the director and COO of the first defendant, was aware that the first defendant had no right to carry out mining operations on the plaintiff’s claims but nevertheless authorised such action fully appreciating the illegality of the first defendant’s actions and accordingly is personally liable for the consequences of the first defendant.”
Zimasco said it carried out a survey which showed that a total of 40 069 tonnes of the run-of-mine chrome ore was mined by ChinaZim and the latter admitted in writing to carrying out such mining without any lawful authority in an e-mail dated June 20, 2016.
“As a result of the defendant’s illegal mining at the said claims, the plaintiff lost 40 069 tonnes of chrome ore, whose processing would have produced 23 505 tonnes of chrome concentrates. The net value of the 23 505 tonnes of chrome concentrates as at May 22, 2016 would have realised a net price per tonne of $45,40 after taking out processing costs of $39,60 per tonne from an ex-work’s selling price of $85 per tonne giving a total loss of income to the plaintiff of $1 067 139,76 and the defendant is liable to pay the plaintiff this full sum,” Zimasco said.
Zimasco further said ChinaZim’s illegal mining on its claims was done using shallow open cast mining up to an average mining depth of six metres when the appropriate average mining depth should have been 18 metres.
“As a result an additional cost of $557 031,77 will be incurred by the plaintiff in mining the remaining amount of 50 018 tonnes of chrome ore remaining on the claims between the 6 metres depth and design depth of 18 metres,” it said.
In its plea however, ChinaZim dismissed Zimasco’s assertions saying its operations in the said area were above board and had Zimasco officials’ blessings.
“The three mining claims stated have always been part of the claims mined by the first defendant on behalf of the plaintiff.
“Second defendant denies any personal involvement or liability attaching to him in respect of the contract mining arrangements between the plaintiff and the first defendant,” ChinaZim said.
“It is denied that the defendants acted without any lawful authority and further denied that the defendants stole any chrome ore whatsoever because at all material times, the defendants dealt with plaintiff’s executives namely Reason Mandimika, Reg Matshiya, Namatai Mapfumo and Farai Makwara, all of whom at all material times knew and were aware of the mining operations with the result that it is incorrect, misleading and unfair for the plaintiff to allege illegal mining and theft.”
The matter is still pending before Justice Edith Mushore.