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Scramble for mines grips Zimbabwe

A battle for control of mining concessions has erupted across the country as an increase in the number of mining disputes gives the government unending problems.

The ownership wrangle over mining claims that has gripped the country involves foreign companies, raising speculation of a possible fresh rush for mineral concessions.

There have been reports of an increasing number of mine ownership disputes in the gold and chrome sectors.

Contacted for comment, Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Polite Kambamura referred the matter to the provincial mining directors for a response.

“Such disputes are handled by the provincial mining director of that province. Can you check with that office for clarity,” Kambamura said.

Recently, there has been a wave of the scramble for minerals with individuals and companies filing court papers fighting for ownership of various claims.

Claims of forged documents have also emerged.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive Wellington Takavarasha said: “To say there has been an increase is blowing it out of proportion. These disputes have always been there; it just takes time. Some disputes can take time depending on the nature of the problem or the person causing the dispute, especially if the person has political muscle. For example in Mashonaland Central you find that a legislator has interests in a mine.

“We are trying to get the disputes expedited. It is not the ministry’s problem and we want arbitration to be done. The Mines and Mineral Act is clear that whoever started pegging will win,” he added.

Recently, the hostile grabbing of a Mashonaland East-based lucrative gold mine called Jeke Mining Syndicate exposed a well-knit corruption syndicate involving high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and some of the investigators from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) who were assigned to look into the matter.

In 2007, Trymore Chipepwe, Michel Chipepwe and Tongai Gata got a gold mine claim and in the same year, Chipepwe invited Norman Karimazondo to join Jeke Mining Syndicate as a member.

Karumazondo then sought his brother Paul Karimazondo, a legislator, to finance the mining project.

The mining dispute, therefore, began when Norman Karimazondo started calling for a change in shareholding, eventually leading to Chipepwe being removed from the syndicate using Section 61(3) of the Mines and Minerals Act Chapter 21:05.

According to court documents, Norman contravened this section of the Mines Act and the case was dismissed by the High Court in favour of Trymore Chipepwe, who is supposed to be reinstated in the syndicate.

Despite various court decisions, Chipepwe is yet to be reinstated.

Elsewhere, there is another dispute in Mashonaland Central province.

In July 2021, Zawadi Mining (Pvt) Ltd owned by Asante Mayeka won a case against Revmark Mining Syndicate, Vavarirai Revesai, Anymore Makarichi and Andrew Chaboka, accused of illegally invading and executing illegal mining operations in Mayeka’s farm and mining claim.

The matter was reported to the provincial mining director Mashonaland Central province of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development who sought the assistance of the provincial coordinator, ZRP Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit evicting illegal miners to no avail.

There are allegations that senior politicians in the province have been piling pressure on the provincial mining director and the lands office to terminate Mayeka’s agriculture permits.. – (The Independent)

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