RAPAPORT… The Zimbabwe High Court has overturned a judgment giving mining rights at the Marange fields to the firm African Consolidated Resources (ACR), the company reported. ACR said it would immediately appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, adding that the appeal should have the effect of suspending the judgment.
According to the Zimbabwe Guardian, Justice Charles Hungwe ruled that ACR had concealed important information in the September 2009 case, namely that its subsidiaries were not yet registered at the time it obtained the mining rights.
“Only a person can be granted a prospecting license. Since none [of the subsidiaries] was incorporated, there was no person to release a certificate of mining,” Hungwe said. He concluded that ACR’s subsidiaries were guilty of fraud through misrepresentation.
Hungwe also noted that the Marange area had been reserved against prospecting at the time that ACR sought the mining claim, a fact that was allegedly displayed on the mining commissioners’ notice board, the Zimbabwe Guardian reported.
ACR said it will issue a more detailed response upon its receipt and analysis of the written judgment, but could not be reached for comment at press time.
The firm bought the Marange project from De Beers in March 2006, but was evicted in October of that year by the government, which took control of the fields through the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). In mid-2008, the Marange diamond fields resembled a free for all until the government began to crack down on the area.
After ACR appealed its governmental eviction, the High Court confirmed the validity of ACR’s mining claims in September 2009. However, ZMDC proceeded with its operations at the mine, forging partnerships with Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Resources as operators of the mine.