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Chinese firm sues govt over black mountain

TIAJIN Maolin Science and Technology Company Limited and Nkana Alloy and Smelting Company Limited have sued the state in the Lusaka High Court over its decision to pull out as a minority shareholder in Nkana Alloy and repossess 50 per cent of the black mountain in Kitwe.

They want an order that the government through the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development does not demarcate 50 per cent of the black mountain on the Copperbelt.

The plaintiffs have cited the Attorney General as the respondent in the matter.

In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs said Tiajin Maolin Science and Technology Company is the majority shareholder with 90 per cent shares in Nkana Alloy and Smelting Company through ENRC (BVI) Limited which was a special purpose vehicle upon purchase of the shares which was held by Chambeshi Metals Limited.

They said Nkana Alloy has three shareholders who are Tiajin Maolin with 90 per cent shareholding, ZCCM-IH with 10 per cent shareholding and the Minister of Finance as the golden shareholder.

The owners of the black mountain contend that Nkana Alloy has faced a lot of challenges with illegal miners commonly known as “Jerabos” since its incorporation in 2014 whom it had legal battles with, which were only resolved three years ago when the government decided to pull out from Nkana Alloy with its 10 per cent shareholding in the black mountain.

Tiajin Maolin and Nkana Alloy stated that the Minister of Finance as a golden shareholder engaged them for its exit from Nkana Alloy.

“There have been negotiations with the golden shareholder, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development with the plaintiffs offering 20 per cent of the black mountain and willingness to purchase some materials from the vulnerable women and other beneficiaries,” the complainants said. “The plaintiffs had regulatory challenges in China and management changes and wrote to the permanent secretary Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development on May 19, 2021. On May 21 the permanent secretary said it would carry out proposals of the golden shareholder in a letter dated April 26,2021 which demanded 50 per cent of the black mountain.”

Tiajin Maolin and Nkana Alloy further stated that the Ministry of Mines indicated to proceed with the demarcation of the black mountain which was slated for May 23, 2021 on 50 per cent basis without concluding negotiations with them.

The plaintiffs are now seeking an order that the state does not take 50 per cent of the black mountain and pull out from Nkana Alloy.

Tiajin Maolin and Nkana Alloy want an order that the government will withdraw its partnership within 30 days after the court’s judgment.

They also want an order that Nkana Alloy be granted a mining licence within 30 days of the judgment date and an order that the Zambia Police shall provide security to the black mountain and the plaintiffs’ members of staff.

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