Mnangagwa asked to intervene in mine row

The government alleges Timothy Matangi used information gained while he was an IDCZ executive to gain access to mining claims.

THE Ministry of Industry and Commerce has requested President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene in a mining wrangle between Chemplex Corporation and a former executive with the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ), according to confidential documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent.

The IDCZ controls agricultural chemicals maker, Chemplex, which in turn controls 100% shareholding in G&W Industrial Minerals, which has been locked up in a tussle over a dolomite claim in Rushinga that former IDCZ finance and operations manager Timothy Matangi lays claim to.

His mining firm, African Mills and Minerals, which owns Seldo Mining was given the same claims by the government about a decade ago.

The State-controlled IDCZ, through its subsidiaries, has lost the case several times in the courts.

But the petition sent to Mnangagwa, which also has legal opinions, showed that the government is still convinced that Matangi used information gained while he was a G&W board member, and as an IDCZ executive, to gain access to the claims.

The petition warns the President that should the government lose the case, crucial fertiliser value chain systems being developed by IDC 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,” reads the document in part.

“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 of 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 (i.e. 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 insider information from his role in IDCZ to acquire this claim.

“The G&W processing plant at Rushinga, which is under threat of eviction due to boundary dispute is of significant national strategic importance. G&W owns vast limestone deposits, which are ideal for exploitation in the production of agricultural lime in support of the agrarian reforms and the NDS1 agenda,” it further states.

The papers said in pursuit of food security and preparation of the summer cropping season G&W has been earmarked as a strategic asset and placed under the government’s 100-day cycle plans to re-ignite the fertiliser value chain.

“IDCZ has already disbursed US$10 million to recapitalise the company and resume limestone production operations this September at a capacity of at least 3 000 mt/month,” the document reads.

“In view of that, Your Excellency I hereby recommend that the Minister of Mines invokes the authority vested in him by the Mines and Minerals Act to withdraw and forfeit the overlapped  mining claim 37310BM under Seldo Mining and award it to G&W, which is a government investment.

“In doing so government would retain ownership, control and exploitation of the strategic asset for meeting both the NDS1 agenda and the Vision 2030.

“The Ministry of Mines can repossess or forfeit mining claims using the following and other provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act: a) Section 401 (5)(d) which relates to authority by Minister to order holder of a mining location to transfer it if the granting of the order is in the national interest. Section 271 which empowers the mining commissioner to declare a mining location to be forfeited.

“Section 177(3) which relates to cancellation of mining claims awarded irregularly particularly in situations where one party’s claims were registered first before the other party’s claims,” the document points out.

It added that Section 31 states that “a pegger cannot peg a mining claim within 90m or 450m from any existing structure, or upon any mining location. Criminal investigation be opened into the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of a mineral claim belonging to government by a former employee of the same parastatal, Mr Mutangi through Seldo Mining,” the report states.

Mines and Mining Development secretary Pfungwa Kunaka said he was aware of the wrangle, but could not give further details.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba refused to comment, while Industry minister Sekai Nzenza was not available for comment.

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