THE High Court has cleared the last hurdle in the Zimbabwe government’s bid to wrest back total control of the Marange diamond fields after stripping a British company of the claim it awarded in September 2009.
African Consolidated Resources (ACR) said it will immediately appeal to the Supreme Court against the rescission adding that the appeal should have the effect of suspending the judgment.
ACR bought the Marange project from De Beers in March 2006 but was evicted in October of that year by the government, who took control of the fields through the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
After appealing the eviction, the High Court confirmed in September 2009 the validity of ACR’s mining claims. However, ZMDC proceeded with its operations at the mine forging partnerships with Mbada Miners and Canadile Diamonds of South Africa to operate the mine.
On Monday, Justice Charles Hungwe ruled that ACR had concealed important information in the September 2009 case that its subsidiaries were not yet registered at the time of obtaining the mining rights.
“Only a person can be granted a prospecting licence. 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, who delivered the September 2009 judgment, also noted that the Marange area had been reserved against prospecting at the time that ACR sought the mining claim which was displayed at the Mining Commissioners’ notice board.
London-based ACR said it will issue a more detailed response to the judgment on receipt and analysis of the written judgment.