Mineral Prospectors Take Fidelity Printers To Task For Dragging Chitando To Court

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE Prospectus Union (ZPU) has jumped to the defence of Mines Minister Winston Chitando after Fidelity Printers – a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) – took the senior government official to court following a Kwekwe gold mine row.

Fidelity Printers recently dragged Chitando to court over a gold mining claim in Kwekwe, after government last year forfeited and reallocated it to Mirage 3 Mine.

Fidelity was in a joint partnership at the mine with former Herald editor, Caesar Zvayi.

However, in a High Court ruling made by Justice Joseph Mafusire last week, and Fidelity lost the dispute resulting in the mine’s ownership being transferred to Kwekwe miner, Jona Nyevera who was allocated the claim last year by the Mines Ministry.

ZPU president Samson Dzingwe in an interview with said Fidelity’s actions of dragging Chitando to court were unnecessary and embarrassing to the minister.

“Fidelity Printers failed to pay up for the inspections as required by the Act. Dragging and soiling the Minister of Mines into the issue was and remains unnecessary and unfortunate as the acquisitions of mining rights and forfeiture have nothing to do with the minister,” Dzingwe said.

He advised stakeholders in the mining industry, “not to take the law for granted. Pay your inspection fees if ever you would not want your mining claims forfeited and re-pegged.”

Dzingwe said it was only professional mineral prospectors who could take back mines that had been returned to the state.

He also warned; “big mining companies who are not paying for their inspections, to know that they can lose their titles to anyone at any time, thus they must adhere to the Mining and Mineral Act or seek advice and assistance from approved prospectors”.

Last year, the Mines Ministry forfeited the mining claim after Fidelity Printers and Zvayi failed to pay the annual fees for more than six years.

Fidelity had sold the claim to Zvayi.

After Fidelity’s failure to settle its statutory obligations, the Mines Ministry forfeited the mine and reallocated it to Nyevera.

Fidelity Printers went on to sue Chitando, the Midlands provincial mining director, and Nyevera argued it had received no prior notice of the ministry’s intention to forfeit the mine, and there had been an understanding between the ministry and the RBZ subsidiary.

Fidelity Printers argued it came as a shock when informed the mine had been forfeited for not honouring statutory obligations for six years.

However, the ministry in response said Fidelity’s argument was flawed because there was no obligation upon the provincial mining director to issue personal notices to individual miners who might be in default regarding the renewal of their mining fees.

The obligation is thrust on the miner to have his or her mine inspected and his or her registration certificates renewed when required.