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Makomo dismisses encroachment claims

By Zvamaida Murwira

Makomo Resources yesterday said its mining operations in Hwange were not affecting anyone’s concession as it was extracting coal from land that acts as a boundary between Hwange Colliery company and Zambezi Gas that was duly granted to it by the Mining Affairs Board.

Makomo Resources (Picture by Percy Musiiwa)
Makomo Resources (Picture by Percy Musiiwa)

Makomo Resources director Mr Raymond Mutokonyi said they were surprised to hear that Zambezi Gas and Coal Mine were claiming that they had encroached into their concession.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Mutokonyi said their acquisition of the Special Grant to mine coal in Hwange was aboveboard.

“We submitted our application in 2008,” he said. “We started the process with the Mining Affairs Board which superintends over all Special Grants. Thereafter we did geological surveys on the identified piece of land which lies between Hwange Colliery company and Zambezi Gas.

“The initial overlaps were on the Zambezi Gas side which were then corrected after three or four attempts of making adjustments.

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“Finally, in June 2010 the Mining Affairs Board wrote to us saying they had recommended to the President for us to be issued with a licence. Immediately upon receiving that letter, because we had our investor shareholder on stand-by, we then started mining operations.

“Our official Special Grant was issued in October 2010. We never took anyone’s piece of land. That land was idle. In any case, our piece of land is 7 000 hectares. I am told Zambezi Gas claim of 19 000ha compared to the 7 000ha that we have and the 8 000ha they have, adds up to 15 000ha. So it means they have another 4 000ha which is unaccounted for and they should explain who took it.”

Mr Mutokonyi said following allegations by Zambezi Gas, they have made subsequent inquiries with the Mining Affairs Board a determination would soon be made.

“We also did a follow up with Geological survey and we confirmed that our papers were correct as per the papers signed by the President, so we had no issue with the Zambezi Gas,” he said.

Provincial mining director for Matabeleland North, Mr Farai Ngulube, said he was aware of the dispute, but it was being handled at head office in Harare.

He said he was optimistic that a solution would be available soon and put the matter to rest.

In his brief to the company, Mr Masimura said their production output was being affected because of their failure to access the bulk of their special grant.

He alleged that Makomo Resources encroached on their concession after a collapse of talks to merge.

But Mr Mutokonyi said the only reason for them to engage Zambezi Gas for a joint venture was that they had been advised that the issuance of Special Grants had been put on hold. The Herald