The Court of Appeal has reversed a High Court judgement that had prohibited Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) from suing Moxico Resources, Rephdim Mining, and Mimbula Minerals Limited for allegedly trespassing on Nchanga Mine area.
Court of Appeal judges Dominic Sichinga, Judy Mulongoti, and Petronella Ngulube did not just reverse the judgment but further ordered that the matter must be taken back to the High Court for trial.
The Court of Appeal further directed that the new trial must be heard by a different High Court judge not the one who dismissed it at first.
On December 15, 1999, KCM bought Nchanga mine from the Zambia government through ZCCM-IH. KCM claims that by this purchase, it acquired all mining rights over Nchanga Copper Mine from ZCCM as part of the privatisation of the mines, together with a large-scale mining licence 7075-HQ-LML, covering approximately 11,470 hectares with a validity of 25 years from its first issue on March 30, 2000. KCM claims that it had valid certificates of title to the area otherwise known as Lot 694/M and the remaining extent of Lot 564/M or the land in the Nchanga Mine area.
But a few years later, in 2007, the same Zambian government through ZCCM-IH issued another licence to Rephdim Mining to mine copper, cobalt and gold on some parts of Nchanga mine that were not part of the area issued to KCM.
Using the licence granted to it under the Mines and Minerals Act of 2008 as 844-HQ-SML in April 2010, Rephdim Mining and partners moved on site to start mining. KCM went to court accusing Rephdim Mining and partners of trespass. How can you trespass when you have a licence from government?
KCM told the high court that Rephdim, Mumbula and Moxico placed boundaries and advertised intentions to exploit the mineral resources at Mimbula Dumps and Mimbula Pits, in the press, and further moved machinery on to Lot 694/M and the remaining extent of Lot 564/M.
KCM told the court that the actions of the respondents constitute trespass on its land and further that it did not grant the defendants consent to commence mining activities.
However, the respondents, on November 17, 2017, filed a defence and counter-claim, denying that the appellant acquired all mining rights over ZCCM-IH and that the appellant’s mining rights were subject to the Defunct Areas Agreement which provided that Mimbula Area was one of the defunct areas that could be transferred to the appellant after making a call option to ZCCM.
Rephdim, Mumbula and Moxico argued that at the time KCM was exercising this call, government had already issued a small-scale mining licence No. 8441-HQ-SML and No- 8514-HQ-SML.
Rephdim, Mumbula and Moxico further denied that the disputed area was sold to the plaintiff in 2000. The High Court in its judgement ruled that KCM’s action was an abuse of the court process.
The high court dismissed the trespass charges. The High Court in its judgement ruled that KCM’s action was an abuse of the court process.
KCM appealed to the Court Appeal.
The Court of Appeal found that KCM’s grounds of appeal had merit and ordered that the matter be taken back to the High Court to be tried by a different judge.
The Court of Appeal also found that committal proceedings should have been taken against Rephdim, Mumbula and Moxico for disobeying a court order that restrained them from proceeding with mining activities in the disputed area.
The Court of Appeal also awarded costs to KCM to be taxed in default of agreement.
HERE IS WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING
When KCM lost the case in the High Court, it was owned by Vedanta. But now we all know that KCM is in the hands on Milingo Lungu and partners such as State House legal advisor Sukwana Lukangaba. So, it’s clear that interests and alliances have changed. This is not the Vedanta KCM. it’s the Milingo Lukangaba KCM. Only when you look at the current issues in that light will you realise and understand why KCM is suddenly winning court cases.
Rephdim, Mumbula and Moxico stand no chance in this matter. It’s not a legal matter anymore. Its political and financial now.
How come ZCCM-IH or the ministry of mines that issued the licences to the alleged trespassers is not sued or even mentioned in the charges?