Deal exposes RBZ’s diamond activities

A MINING joint-venture deal which turned sour has exposed how the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been involved in the extraction and processing of diamonds and gold in the Midlands, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

Carslone Enterprises, a subsidiary of the RBZ, entered into a joint venture with Gweru farmer Magiel Casper Jovner, who owns Kleimpton Farm, in 2007 to carry out mining activities at his Mangwe Mine claim 24 for a three year period up to June 2010. The matter is now before the courts.
Under the Tribute Agreement, Carslone was supposed to conduct mining activities at Mangwe claim 24 from June 25 2007 until June 24 2010, which was subject to renewal once the parties agree on an extension of the agreement.
Under the agreement, Carslone was due to pay Jovner 5% of the total gross value of the gold and/or other valuable products from the mine.
But the deal went sour recently after Jovner refused to renew the agreement citing the RBZ subsidiary’s failure to meet its obligations and entered into a new three- year partnership with Shuma Mining Syndicate running from June 15 2010 up to June 14 2013.
Jovner accused the RBZ subsidiary of not meeting its obligations of paying royalties amounting to “5% of the total gross value of the products won.”
The RBZ’s mining activities are revealed in an urgent chamber application filed by Jovner seeking a court order to permanently interdict the central bank’s subsidiary, its agents, servants, proxies, associates and nominees from entering his farm and mines, including coming within 100 metres thereof.
Jovner, who is setting up a diamond processing plant which is nearing completion at his farm located about 18 kms from Gweru along the Gweru-Bulawayo road, says his mining activities have recently been hampered by the RBZ’s unlawful actions in the area which include illegal mining and trespassing, behaviour which has resulted in his mining activities being seriously affected.
The Gweru farmer says although he held a Tribute Agreement with Carslone, the agreement was for Mangwe claim 24 only and not for Mangwe claim 20 and 21, where the apex bank’s mining subsidiary has forcefully settled.
Despite the expiry of the Tribute Agreement on June 24, Carslone has continued to mine and ignored Jovner’s demand that the plant close down as there is no Tribute Agreement in existence and that the RBZ subsidiary is mining in wrong claims.
Jovner says Carslone has made racial threats and threatened that they would cause his arrest and grab his farm as he has no right to own the farm and mine, they claimed.
The farmer said at one time the police removed Carslone from his farm after he made a police report, but the miners have since returned to his farm.
“Respondent (Carlsone) is clearly undeterred and has continued unlawful and unauthorised mining activities,” reads part of Jovner’s urgent chamber application filed in the High Court in July seeking to interdict Carslone, its agents, servants, proxies, associates and nominees from mining on his claims.
In his letter to the Mining Commissioner for Gweru, only identified as WM Dube, a copy of which is in the possession of the Independent, Jovner said he was surprised that Carslone is still carrying out mining activities on his mining claims without his consent yet he had clearly indicated to the company that he had no intention of working with them again after the expiry of the Tribute Agreement.
In a letter written to the Officer Commanding Midlands Police, Mining Commissioner Dube ordered the police to halt Carslone’s mining activities.
“Mr Magiel Casper Jovner has reported that Carslone is working illegally on 12400BM Mangwe on an expired agreement. If the allegations are correct, could you stop all mining operations and instruct both parties to visit this office for arbitration,” reads Dube’s letter dated July 19.
But on July 29 Police Assistant Inspector Jachi absolved the RBZ of illegally mining on Jovner’s claims and instead accused the Gweru farmer of making a false report to the police.
“It is alleged that Migel Casper Jovner reported a case of illegal mining against Carslone Enterprises in that the said company is mining diamonds without relevant documents from the Ministry of Mines. This resulted in police acting upon the information and arrested persons who were found at the mining premises. The people arrested were Carslone Enterprises employees working at the plant. They were not gold panners. We cleared them of the allegations since they were false,” Jachi wrote in a letter dated July 29.
In his opposing affidavit, Emmanuel Shuro, the director of Carslone, accused Jovner of creating statements of illegality, unlawfulness, trespassing and harassment.
Shuro said the RBZ engaged Jovner as a consultant in the diamond mining and processing venture and this saved him from being evicted from his farm which was seized by the government under the Sour deal exposes RBZ’s diamond activities
land grab exercise.
“The presence of the government diamond project at the farm has made the government to suspend allocation of the farm to landless people. That is what has made applicant (Jovner) stay at the farm. Moreover, we pleaded with the Governor of Midlands (Jason Machaya) on his behalf for him to stay at the farm since he was the consultant of the project.”
The diamond processing plant, which Shuro says cost the government US$20 million to establish, would also process alluvial diamond-bearing ore from the central bank’s Somabhula mining projects. 
The value of the mined and processed diamonds could not be ascertained.
Besides mining and processing diamonds, Carslone has consolidated its presence in the gold-mining sector by acquiring closed or struggling mines. It owns Golden Kopje mine, in Chinhoyi, among other mines.

 

Kumbirai Mafunda

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