Dolomite miner ramps up output after court win

Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ)

A MINING firm that has fought a bitter legal battle against the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ) over a dolomite claim in Rushinga says it is ramping up output following a recent court victory.

The state-run IDCZ holds full control in agricultural chemicals maker, Chemplex Corporation, which in turn controls 100% stock in G&W Industrial Minerals.

G&W has fought and lost several court battles against African Mills, which owns Seldo Mining.

In several court cases, G&W had argued that Seldo should not have been allowed to repeg on a claim that houses its lime processing plant.

It had also argued that the location where Seldo got the rights to mine about a decade ago had existing infrastructure with active operations when it came to the scene, in violation of the Mining Act.

Last week, the Zimbabwe Independent reported that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce had requested President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene in the mining wrangle, which pits Seldo director Timothy Matangi, a former IDCZ executive, who once sat on the G&W board.

Matangi has been accused of using information gained during his employment to gain access to the claim.

Documents seen by the Independent showed that authorities were determined to invoke several legal options to gain full control of the asset.

But in his ruling delivered on January 25, High Court Judge Tawanda Chitapi gave Seldo a greenlight to continue operations.

“The conclusion which I have reached is that the application (by Seldo) succeeds,” Justice Chitapi ruled.

Seldo managing director Pride Matangi told the Independent that the dispute had affected investor confidence in the project.

He said planned ramp-ups were back on track following the court victory.

“I am deeply satisfied with the court ruling after waiting for about 13 years on a case I have always thought to be so obvious,” Matangi said.

“Hopefully, we can now allay our investors’ concerns and implement our plans and massive production of lime, which was stalled by G&W's illegal occupation of our claim.”

The Seldo boss said Timothy Matangi had not been involved in the asset’s acquisition.

“The correct position is that the dispute between Seldo and G&W is about G&W equipment illegally being on Seldo claim number 37310BM. Our director Timothy was not involved in the acquisition of the said claim and was not an employee of G&W when the said claim was acquired. Seldo Mining has been producing and supplying agricultural lime fertiliser for the past 33 years,” Matangi said.

“It has also consistently supplied government programmes such as command agriculture and pioneered the supply of presidential inputs. Seldo has always been a law-abiding company such that it has won all 11 cases against G&W. G&W has won none,” he added.

In the petition to Mnangagwa reported by the Independent last week, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce warned that should government lose the case, crucial fertilizer value chain systems being developed by IDCZ would crumble.

“G & W’s fundamental argument is that Seldo should not have been allowed to re-peg over the mining claim block which is housing the G&W plant since the mining location already had existing infrastructure with active operations,” the Ministry of Industry and Commerce document reads.

“Such areas are not open for pegging according to the Mines and Minerals Act. G &W asserts that there were irregularities in the awarding of the claim by the Ministry of Mines to Seldo Mining and subsequently pegging and registration of the former Arda mining claim.

“Mr Mutangi took advantage discrepancies in the claim coordinates on record compared to the reality on the ground as evidenced by use of the modern GPS technology which was the case for all mining claims countrywide.

“The Ministry of Mines allowed miners to regularise the approved old mining claim records (ie) mining claims site maps, claim registers supported by coordinates and beacons properly inspected and licenced). In the course of this Mr Mutangi through Seldo used the gaps and the inside information from his role in IDCZ to acquire this claim,” it added.

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