MIN­ING

New twist to coal field feud

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - BUSINESS - Africa Moyo Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter

THE coal claims feud pit­ting Zam­bezi Gas and Makomo Re­sources has taken a new twist, amid re­ports that there may have been an “er­ror” in the for­mer’s spe­cial grant. Zam­bezi Gas says its spe­cial grant gives it 19 720 hectares, and ac­cuses Zim­babwe’s big­gest coal miner by out­put, Makomo, of clan­des­tinely an­nex­ing over 11 720ha of its claims.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions by The Sun­day Mail Busi­ness show the spe­cial grant con­tains two dif­fer­ent hec­tarages.

An of­fi­cial with the Min­ing Af­fairs Board, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity as he is not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia, said the first page of Zam­bezi Gas’s spe­cial grant in­di­cated the firm had been ap­por­tioned 19 720ha.

How­ever, the se­cond page of the spe­cial grant shows the com­pany was al­lo­cated claims mea­sur­ing 8 644ha. The se­cond fig­ure is cor­rob­o­rated by the map at­tached to the spe­cial grant.

It is yet to be es­tab­lished how this hap­pened.

“The first page of their spe­cial grant is writ­ten 19 720ha but on the se­cond page it is in­di­cated 8 644ha. The map at­tached to their spe­cial grant is also in sync with what is on page 2. The fig­ure of 19 720ha on page one is just aloof, it has no sup­port,” said the source.

Zam­bezi Gas deputy MD and share­holder Mr Li­nos Masimura could not be reached for com­ment last week over the new rev­e­la­tions.

Makomo Re­sources di­rec­tor Mr Ray­mond Mu­tokonyi, in­sisted it was “non­sen­si­cal” that they grabbed part of Zam­bezi Gas’s claims.

“We made an ap­pli­ca­tion for 7 000 hectares of coal claims, and duly got what we had ap­plied for,” said Mr Mu­tokonyi.

“We were called for a meet­ing by the Min­ing Af­fairs Board to make our pre­sen­ta­tion and that is when it was found out that our spe­cial grant was over­lap­ping into a small por­tion of both Hwange Col­liery Com­pany and Zam­bezi Gas.

“The Min­ing Af­fairs Board told us to go and work on it un­til it no longer en­croached onto other com­pa­nies’ claims, and the ap­pli­ca­tion was granted at the third time of pre­sen­ta­tion.”

The Min­ing Af­fairs Board is an in­de­pen­dent body com­pris­ing min­ers.

Once Makomo rec­ti­fied the anom­aly, the Min­ing Af­fairs Board rec­om­mended to the then Pres­i­dent, Mr Robert Mu­gabe, to ap­prove the spe­cial grant.

Mr Mu­gabe signed the spe­cial grant and handed it to Makomo, with the firm start­ing op­er­a­tions on the ground in 2010.

Zam­bezi Gas had ob­tained its spe­cial grant in 2003 and started min­ing last year.

Mr Mu­tokonyi said if in­deed Zam­bezi Gas had been prej­u­diced, “why has it taken them about 14 years to re­port the is­sue?”

“There is no is­sue there. When I went to the Min­istry of Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment, they were ac­tu­ally sur­prised that Zam­bezi Gas had not lodged a for­mal com­plaint,” said Mr Mu­tokonyi.

It un­der­stood Zam­bezi Gas wrote to the Mines Min­istry about two months ago rais­ing its con­cerns. At one point, Makomo Re­sources ap­peared to be head­ing to­wards a deal with Zam­bezi Gas to part­ner in ex­ploit­ing the lat­ter’s claims.

As ne­go­ti­a­tions pro­ceeded, amid in­di­ca­tions Zam­bezi Gas wanted to sell 75 per­cent of the project, Makomo was no­ti­fied that its ap­pli­ca­tion had suc­ceeded and the talks ended.

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