Chitando Dragged to Court in Row Over Gold Mining Claims

A local mining company, Earthrow Investments (Pvt) Ltd has petitioned the High Court seeking an order barring another mining company called Pahasha Somalia Mining Syndicate, from prospecting, extracting and removing gold ore from its claims in Mudzi.

Through its legal practitioners, Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners, Earthrow this week filed a court application seeking to be declared lawful owners of Koo Doo 62 and 63 mines whose claims measure about 50 hectares. In the application, the miners cited Mines minister Winston Chitando, Mines official, one Tendai Kashiri, Pahasha Somalia Mining Syndicate and the chief mining commissioner as co-respondents.

“The applicant (Earthrow Investments (Pvt) Ltd) was issued with certificates of registration for Koo Doo 62-65 in the year 2003, which is more than 10 years before the fourth respondent (Pahasha Somalia Mining Syndicate) was purportedly issued with certificates of part of Koo Doo 62 and 63 mining location,” Earthrow Investments (Pvt) Ltd chief executive officer, Paul Chenjerai, said in his founding affidavit.

“The applicant is therefore evidently, a prior pegger. The fourth respondent has no legal right to be occupying the parts of Koo Doo 62 and 63. The fourth respondent’s certificate of registration 45650 is an illegal document where no mining rights can lawfully flow from. The applicant seeks declaration that the fourth respondent’s certificate of registration 45650 is null and void of it relating to applicant’s mining location.”

According to Chenjerai, his firm is also seeking an order barring Pahasha Somalia Mining Syndicate from continuing with mining operations within the disputed claims.

“This is an application for a declarator. The applicant seeks it be declared that it is the sole mining entity with valid registration certificates entitling it to solely conduct mining operations within Koo Doo 62 and 65 Mines. The applicant also seeks that it be declared that the fourth respondent is conducting illegal mining operations within the applicant’s Koo Doo 62 and 63 Mines and therefore should cease its illegal operations.”

In his detailed chronological order of events, Chenjerai said sometime in October 2003 his mine was certified as the registered holder of the mining location called Koo Doo 62, 63, 64 and 65. According to Chenjerai, Koo Doo 62 is located in Mudzi communal land approximately 2,3km east of old Koo Doo Mine in Mudzi adding the area of the block is 25 hectares and its pegs are clearly set out on the Registration Notice.

“The co-ordinates where this mining location is situated are clearly pointed out on the Registration Notice as 0463606E-80888861N, 0463923 E-8088448N, 0463730 E-8087965 N and 043730 E-8088401 N,” he said, adding: “Koo Doo 63 is located in Mudzi Communal land, approximately 1,8km ENE of the Koo Doo Mine. The area of the mining block is 25 hectares. The pegs and the co-ordinates are clearly outlined in the Registration Notice. The co-ordinates are set out as 0463166 E-8089035 N, 0463560 E, 8088757 N, 0462959 E-8088574 N and 0463371E- 8088290 N. The certificate of registration for Koo Doo 63 is in the applicant’s name.”

Chenjerai further claims that Koo Doo 64 and 65 is also located in Mudzi communal land approximately 1,5km and 1,8km ENE of old Koo Doo Mine respectively adding it is the lawful holder of mining concern with valid certificates of registration for Koo Doo 62-65 and that it has existing rights to solely conduct mining operations in the invaded mining location.

“The fourth respondent is an association of persons duly registered as a mining concern which has occupied part of Koo Doo 62 and 63 allegedly on the basis of a certificate of registration granted to it in the year 2016,” he said.

“The fourth respondent is currently in occupation of part of the applicant’s mining location where it is prospecting for gold, extracting same and removing the gold ore for milling. The co-ordinates of the specific location where the fourth respondent is conducting its mining operations are 043349-8088826 N, 043800 E-8088575 N, 0463398 E-8088400 N, 04633250 E-8088626 N.”

Chenjerai also said the mentioned co-ordinates fall into Koo Doo 62 and 63 adding that a mere analysis of these coordinates clearly shows that Pahasha Somalia Mining Syndicate, contrary to law, conducted pegging in the ground reserved against Earthrow by virtue of it being a mining location wherein the latter had already acquired exclusive mining rights in the year 2003. The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.

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