- November 18, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
RioZim Limited yesterday was victorious in its conflict with the military and a business owned by Pakistani nationals Falcon Resources after the miner was awarded back its chrome mining claims in Darwendale, Mashonaland West.
By Shantel Chisango
The dispute arose in August 2018 when Oppah Muchinguri, Minister of Defense and War Veterans Affairs, presented RIOZIM’s mining claims to Falcon Resources claiming that it was a territory of the cantonment.
The two went to the High Court, where Justice Happias Zhou ruled in favour of the military.
Through its counsel, Thabhani Mpofu, RioZim also appealed to the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Tendai Luke Mabala, along with Justices Tendai Uchena and George Chiweshe. The highest court of the land gave a victory judgment yesterday overthrowing the High Court’s decision.
“The unanimous view of the court is that the judgment of the High Court is clearly wrong, accordingly, the appeal succeeds and the judgment is set aside with costs and in its place substituted the following provisional order is confirmed, full reasons for the judgment will be availed in due course, “said Justice Mbala.
The army, led by Lewis Uriri, proclaimed the region a cantonment according to RioZim, and later gave it to a company that had vigorously mined chrome.
RioZim Limited Chief Geologist Patrick Takaedza said in his founding affidavit that his company was the holder of 260 mining claims, some of which were partly on Darwendale South Eclipse, New Burnside, and Darwendale B Farms, but were taken over by the military under the guise that it was a cantonment area.
Takaedza further claimed that Muchinguri’s decision, in her official capacity, to issue a notice stating that the cantonment area in the question was unlawful and in violation of the law.
Furthermore, Takaedza opined that Muchinguri, acting under section 89 of the Defence Act, published on 3 August 2018 a notice citing the Defense (Cantonments) Notice 2018 (No 51) stating that for the purposes of Part IX of the Act, the region mentioned in the schedule is a cantonment.
Falcon Resources wrote to RioZim in February 2018 asking for a tribute of chrome ore claims, but Rio did not respond. In May 2018, Takaedza said it was reported that mining operations were in progress on the said claims and it was discovered that Falcon Resources and Rusununguko Nkululeko (Pvt) Ltd were on the site.
In addition, Takaedza said investigations revealed that Falcon Resources (Pvt) Ltd had two directors who were the sole shareholders, Mohammed Tariq Aziz, a Pakistani national, and Aneeqa Zubair, a Dutch national, both believed to be former Pakistani military officers who were attached to or seconded to the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) between 1980 and 2000.