Chrome miners in legal row over US$7 million ore theft

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By Mary Taruvinga

A local chrome mining company, Afrochine Smelting is being sued for over US$7 million after it allegedly stole ore from a rival company, N.R Barber (Private) Ltd.

The case has spilled into the High Court after the Afrochine refused to pay for the chrome ore despite demand from the plaintiff.

Afrochine is being sued together with Diamond Cement (Private) Ltd and one Wonder Mavenangano.

According to summons by N.R Barber, the chrome was stolen from its chrome mining claim commonly known as Mzila 6 mine registered under licence number 1199BM.

“None of the defendants has any right to enter upon the site of the claim or any right to the ore from the claim,” wrote N.R Barber in its declaration.

The plaintiff claimed that in 2016 and 2018, the defendants unlawfully entered Mzila 6 Mine.

It is alleged they did this with full knowledge that N.R Barber owned the mine.

They then stole 109 950, 86 tonnes whose value is US$70 per tonne.

“At all material times, ownership of all ore extracted within the limits of the block rests in the plaintiff. The value of the ore unlawfully taken from the plaintiff’s mine is US$7 696 560,” said N.R Barber.

Afrochine Smelting is a subsidiary of Tsingshan Iron and Steel Group of China and has chrome smelters in Selous near Chegutu.

N.R Barber is being represented by Mafongonya and Matapura legal practitioners.