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President Mugabe has filed an application at the Administrative Court seeking confirmation of the compulsory acquisition of the unutilised 28,000 hectares of mining land in Kadoma, held by Zimplats Holdings Limited. The land, which is held by Zimplats under Special Mining Lease number 1, has been lying idle for years and Government intends to acquire it and re-allocate it to prospective miners who are keen on extracting platinum for the country’s economic growth.
The President, in his official capacity, seeks to acquire the land in terms of Section 7(1) of the Land Acquisition Act (Chapter 20:10) as read with Section 398(1) of the Mines and Minerals Act. The Civil Division of the Attorney General’s office filed the application on behalf of the President.
A notice to acquire the land was published in the Government Gazette of April 26, 2013, and Zimplats was served with the notice. The mining company objected to the compulsory acquisition on May 7 the same year, in terms of Section 5 (i) (a) (iii) A of the Land Acquisition Act.
The Minister of Mines engaged Zimplats for a roundtable meeting but they reached a deadlock, prompting the President to approach the court. In the recent application for authority to acquire the land, filed under Administrative Court number LA13/16, the President said he has the power to compulsorily acquire the land from Zimplats despite the existence of a lease agreement.
“The right conferred to an applicant under a Special Mining Lease can, however, be compulsorily acquired by me as the President of Zimbabwe for a purpose beneficial to the public generally in terms of Section 398(1) of the Mines Act,” said the President.
President Mugabe said the acquisition of the land will introduce new mining players for the broad benefit of the masses.
“The land to be acquired will allow for the immediate entry of new players into the platinum sector. This will bring immediate benefit to the public through employment creation and an enlarged revenue base for the Government of Zimbabwe (that is more companies paying royalties, corporate tax and Pay As You Earn).
“The Government will also receive dividends as it will be a shareholder in the new companies to be brought on board, as will the local community in the area through the company share ownership schemes,” he said.The increase of players in the platinum sector, the President said, will build the necessary critical mass allowing for the setting up of a local refinery that will result in the nation getting maximum benefits.
“Clearly, the increasing number of players will result in the immediate increase in the rate of extraction of the platinum group metals which ultimately increases the contribution of those metals to the country’s gross domestic product,” he said.
Since May 2006 when the mining lease was issued to Zimplats, the land in question has been lying idle. No mining operations are being conducted there and the land is in excess of Zimplats’ requirements. “The 27,948 hectares is in excess to its (Zimplats’) requirements and can be better utilised for the benefit of the populace,” reads President Mugabe’s affidavit.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa also deposed an affidavit supporting the President’s application. Minister Chidhakwa said Government intends to establish the Platinum Group Metal Complex on the ground to be acquired. A 600 megawatt power station will also be constructed to supply the Platinum Group Metal Complex to be constructed with electricity.
The project, Minister Chidhakwa said, will earn Government $3 billion annually, coupled with numerous multiplier benefits. Government said 15,000 jobs will be directly created, while 75,000 jobs will be created indirectly from the project. Zimplats Holdings opposed President Mugabe’s application and urged the court to throw it away on a technicality.
The company argued that Government lawyers wrongly served the court application at the offices of Zimbabwe Mines (Private) Limited when the respondent was Zimplats Holdings. It is the respondent’s argument that the application was served on a company that is not a party to the proceedings and that the application must be dismissed.
The company argued that the application was also defective in the sense that it failed to cite Zimbabwe Platinum Mine (Private) Limited as a respondent. Zimplats Holdings, according to the respondent, was a shareholder in Zimbabwe Platinum Mine (Private) Limited.
The company also seeks the dismissal of the application because the notices for compulsory acquisition relied upon, wrongly states the holding company as the one that was holding the land under the Special Mining Lease.
The company also challenges the application on the basis that the size of the land to be acquired compulsorily was not correct. By by Daniel Nemukuyu. Source-bulawayo24