Mnangagwa takes over Zimbabwean Platinum mines

Harare – Zimbabwe's ZMDC has said CAMEC, a company linked to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and his business partner Billy Rautenbach, holds the legitimate mineral rights to the disputed Bougai and platinum reserves.

The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is now run by members of the Central Intelligence Organisation and reporting to JOC said Central African Mining and Exploration Company, an associate shareholder in Todal Mining, holds the legitimate mineral rights to the disputed Bougai and platinum reserves, near Gweru, along Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke mineral belt.

As chair of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which brings together the security chiefs, Mnangagwa holds a powerful and influential position, and he is long-touted as Robert Mugabe’s potential successor.

Controversial Zimbabwean businessman Billy Rautenbach, used to be a major shareholder in Aim-listed Central African Mining and Exploration (Camec), which owns copper mining properties in the DRC.

A top legal official in the Democratic Republic of Congo withdrew a key licence held by Camec, the mining group a day after the company launched a hostile all-share takeover of its rival Katanga Mining.

Camec was founded and run by former England test cricketer Phil Edmonds, who has a number of other African interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as other interests in Mozambique, Mali and Zimbabwe.

In September 2009, an Israel company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), a London-based Kazakh miner, announced that it had agreed to buy Camec, for as much as £584m.

ZMDC’s latest comments are well timed as Zimbabwean parliament will soon debate legal reforms in the mining sector which are urgently needed by Zimbabwean secretive Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and his foreign business Associates, to allow them unfattered access to mineral rights of the World’s second largest platinum deposits after Russia.

The Movement for Democratic Change and its unsophisticated leadership, has a majority in Parliament but they will be used to rubber stamp legislation which will literally hand over Emmerson Mnangagwa and his associates control of the country’s mineral resources in the name of attracting foreign investment. 

Robert Mugabe has opened a new session of parliament which officials say will consider amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act and a bill governing the operations of the central bank.

The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation’s latest comments come in the wake of a reported legal dispute simmering between CAMEC, 60 percent shareholder in Todal Investments, and Kameni, a shadowy unlisted mining company based in South Africa.

Sources said, Kameni is backed by another rival Zanu PF faction headed by General Solomon Mujuru.

CAMEC said it paid over US$205 million in cash and shares for its stake in Todal.

Foreign companies with operations in Zimbabwe include Angloplat, Implats and Rio Tinto, majority owner in the country’s biggest diamond mine.

In 2008, Kameni widely advertised that it controlled Bougai. In its marketing messages, Kameni claimed that its subsidiary Mid-Ma Platinum, 74,9 percent held by Pomachan, a 100 percent subsidiary of Kameni, holds Bougai.

In December 2008 Kameni announced plans to raise R6,5 billion (about US$630 million) on the Johannesburg bourse, by mid-2010, "the funds being intended to build platinum and chrome mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe".

Kameni advised further that its "two major assets — the near-surface PGM (platinum group metal) Kalkfontein Project in South Africa and the surface PGM and chrome Bougai Project in Zimbabwe — lend themselves to rapid exploration, development and cash-generating mining".

However, ZMDC chief executive Dominic Mubaiwa said the issue of Bougai platinum reserves was not just about recognising who owns the Bougai platinum, but was about who holds legitimate rights to the minerals.

"The mineral rights to Bougai and Kironde are held by Todal through a joint venture with Lesever, which is owned by CAMEC," said Mr Mubaiwa.

Contacted for comment on the dispute over Bougai Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu said there was only one legitimate holder of the mining title to the disputed assets, but declined to say who that was.

"The ministry knows who the legitimate owner of the mineral rights is and those with disputes should come to Government for solutions," said Minister Mpofu.

Kameni has reportedly insisted that it is the rightful owner of the Bougai platinum reserves and also claimed that it has supporting documentation.

Kameni, in its capital raising marketing campaigns has repeatedly stated that it controls the Bougai platinum reserves.

Despite a full-blown dispute in the background, Kameni’s seed raising continued.

Late last year Todal’s managing director Mr Walter Shamu wrote to the mining commissioner, Gweru, expressing alarm that Kameni’s Mid-Ma was apparently claiming rights "over mining claims already granted to Todal".

Kameni has claimed in the media that Bougai was sold twice adding that: "as we have said to you at least twice now, the matter has been referred back to the appropriate authority, the Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines, for clarification and Kameni is confident of an outcome in its favour".

"Mr Rautenbach and Emmerson Mnangagwa have amassed a large number of mineral and other assets in the DRC during the civil war and subsequently. We also believe that South African politicians have been introduced to this network by these two," one source said.

In another development, a $800-million coal mine deal, which has been on the cards for years, is set to take off, following the signing of a deal between the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) and Mnangagwa and Billy Rautenbach’s Clidder Minerals.

It involves the construction of a coal mine in the Hwange western coalfield, owned by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a power-generating subsidiary of Zesa, and two power units at Hwange power station.

Zesa, through ZPC, will hold a “yet to be disclosed but minority shareholding” in the venture. Clidder, an investment vehicle owned by businessperson Billy Rautenbach, will be the majority equity holder.

“Billy Rautenbach will have the majority stake in the joint venture and government, through Zesa, will be the minority shareholder,” says a source.

Currently, Clidder Minerals mines coal at Hwange colliery under a contract.

Zesa CEO Ben Rafemoyo has declined to comment on the latest developments.