Miner fights govt over invasion of claim

A SMALL-SCALE miner from the Mphoengs area in Plumtree has filed an urgent High Court chamber application seeking the eviction of his rivals from the mining site.

BY SILAS NKALA

The application was filed at the Bulawayo High Court against the Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa and some miners who allegedly invaded his mine seeking an order compelling them to stay off the mine.

In his founding affidavit dated June 10, Mphakathi Ncube cited Matabeleland South acting provincial mining director, Chidakwa, Clive Sibanda, and Deon Lees as respondents respectively.

Sibanda was cited in his capacity as a holder of Crown 25 and 26 mining claims, while Lees was cited as the holder of tribute rights over the same claims in terms of the tribute agreement.

In his founding affidavit, Ncube submitted that he was seeking an interdict against Lees from extracting ore from his shaft at Crown 21 pending the determination of the application for review he filed under case number HC 399/16.
“I pegged and registered my claims in Mpoengs Area on Crown 20 and 21 October 2006 and I have been working on this mine ever since until on or about January 29 2016 when first respondent (acting provincial mining director) advised me that there was a dispute between me and the fourth respondent (Lees) that I encroached on his claim.

All mining operations were stopped pending the resolution of the dispute,” Ncube submitted.

“The third respondent (Sibanda) pegged and registered his claims on Crown 25 and 26 on July 21, 2010 four years after mine. I have been mining on crown 21 since 2006 and I struck a reef underground very rich in gold deposits.

The fourth respondent was not a miner then. Fourth respondent owned a milling plant in the area where myself and other miners used to take our ore for milling.”

He said in 2014 he decided to set up his milling plant and that meant he would no longer take his rich ore to Lees’ plant for milling. He said Lees was not happy about the development and he mooted a tribute agreement with him in respect of crown 25 and 26.

Ncube denied encroaching into Lees’ claim.

“In fact the fourth respondent took my ore which was on the surface which I had to follow and collect from his milling plant. I submit that this matter is urgent as it involves a finite resource like gold ore which can get finished before the application is heard.”

The respondents are yet to respond to the application.

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