Chinese firm, Kamativi in $7m mine wrangle

HARARE - A Chinese company that reportedly invested $7 million in the mining of several minerals through a joint venture agreement with Kamativi Tin Mines Limited (Kamativi) has filed a High Court lawsuit against Kamativi, accusing it of making a u-turn on the deal and contracting a third party instead.

According to court papers, the applicant is Beijing Pingchang Investments Co. Limited (Beijing), while the respondents are Kamativi Tin Mines Limited and Lintmar Mining Limited (Lintmar).

In terms of the agreement, the parties were to mine tin, tantalite, beryllium, lithium and other minerals.

“On the 17th of September 2015, applicant (Beijing) and first respondent (Kamativi) entered into a joint venture agreement in terms of which applicant would finance exploration of minerals at a concession area where first respondent has mining title under mining lease No. 12.

“Applicant (Beijing) is a foreign company registered in terms of laws of the Republic of China under registration number 110108018254715. It is a direct foreign investor in Zimbabwe with mining interests. On 17 October 2017, applicant entered into a confidentiality and restraint agreement with second respondent (Lintmar). In terms of that agreement, second respondent was duty bound not to disclose or use other than in terms of the non-disclosure and restraint agreement, any information obtained by interaction with applicant.

“Through first respondent’s legal representative, applicant learnt that respondents had engaged each other, to its exclusion, for purposes contained in the joint venture between applicant and first respondent,” the court was told.

The Chinese firm said it immediately wrote to Kamativi but did not get a response.

The company said in contradiction of the contract signed between the parties, Kamativi instead allowed Lintmar to explore the dumps and tailings at Kamativi and is still conducting mining operations at the site.

“In fact, it was established on 6 April, 2018 that Lintmar, which is using the name Chimata is in the process of evaluating the dumps for lithium. The chief executive officer for Lintmar (Mr) John McTaggart was quoted saying second respondent had met the target for site mobilisation and were in the process of using the auger drill to establish dimension and depth of the dump as well as grades for tin, tantalite and lithium. These are the very minerals I wrote requesting to explore,” the company’s chief executive officer Shouming Lin said.

Lin said Kamativi had deliberately prevented Beijing Pingchang Investments Co. Limited from accessing the mine to pave way for Lintmar.

“I should state that applicant has invested over $7 million at Kamativi. It is disheartening that after all the effort and investment, first respondent sees it fit to disregard such a major business arrangement and business relationship.

“The actions of first respondent are despicable and unwarranted. They are not at par with the spirit of the joint venture agreement and the need to enhance business for ZMDC (the holding government corporation) and the country at large,” Lin said, adding that Lintmar is using Beijing’s electricity, Wi-Fi and resources.

Kamativi has not yet responded to the application.

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