For the second time in two years, Government has expressed dissatisfaction with investors that had been granted permission to invest in the mothballed Kamativi Mines amid indications some officials were circumnavigating due process to sell-off the mine.
The Kamativi Tin Mines in Matabeleland North are a wholly owned subsidiary of Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which stopped operations in 1994 after the price of tin tumbled in 1985.
Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Munesushe Munodawafa, said the Ministry had cancelled an agreement with a company called Lintma for the re-start of Kamativi Mine after the investor started claiming land beyond the scope of the mines.
“It is true there was a company called Lintma that had come to Kamativi and it is true that they got to the point where the Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC) wrote to the Minister (of Mines) seeking permission to sign that agreement. And that permission was given.
“But we then learnt, and it goes to the process, after the permission was given information that came back to the Ministry was that the company then totally changed the goalposts and came up with a totally different agreement where effectively from what I understood they were now literally taking possession not just of that land (the Kamativi Mine) but the areas surrounding it,” he told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines.
The termination of the agreement with little-known Lintma comes on the back of another potential deal worth $102 million that went sour. The deal was with a Chinese firm, China Beijing Pinchang, but collapsed after Government questioned the credentials of the firm following a due diligence by the ZMDC.
But interestingly, the due diligence was said to have been conducted after the ZMDC had agreed with China Beijing Pinchang a deal, which would have seen the latter injecting $102 million for a 49 percent stake in a joint venture.
“I think it goes back to the process that we talked about. We need a process where everyone comes out during daylight; we all contest on the same basis and the winner takes it home,” said Munodawafa.
There has been longstanding concern over how some ZMDC officials have handled potential investors eyeing some of the Corporation’s non-operating mines.
In May 2014, following the appointment of a new ZMDC board, then Minister of Mines Walter Chidhakwa said:
“There is an interest in Kamativi from all over the world, particularly from South African investors but the way the investment was handled by some of our officials in ZMDC was questionable. Some of the interaction has not been proper.”
Kamativi is only one of ZMDC’s mothballed mines that are targeted for revival. Others include the Sabi Gold and Shabanie and Mashaba Mines in Zvishavane, Mhangura Copper Mine, Copper Queen in the Midlands and the Elvington Mine in Chegutu.