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Zimbabwe, Zambia, SA revitalise mining deal

by Staff reporter
02 Jun 2022 at 06:41hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE, Zambia and South Africa have agreed to work together to revitalise the Pan African Minerals Development Company (PAMDC), a joint minerals exploitation venture by the three states.

PAMDC was established to unlock value of the legacy indivisible assets jointly owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia in South Africa through the Emerged Railways Properties (ERP).

The three countries met in Victoria Falls on Saturday and agreed to revitalise and properly constitute the PAMDC board.

The legacy indivisible assets include vast mineral rights on 1,7 million hectares of land in Limpopo, South Africa, left to Zimbabwe and Zambia by former coloniser, Cecil John Rhodes.

Rhodes, using the British South Africa Company, colonised Zambia and Zimbabwe in 1888 and 1890 respectively before the two neighbours became known as Northern and Southern Rhodesia as they formed a federation.

The Cape government awarded Rhodes' company Bechuanaland Railway Company Limited, vast stretches of land to facilitate the construction of the railway in present day South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia

On June 1, 1899 Bechuanaland Railway Company changed its name to Rhodesia Railways Limited which managed to retain ownership of mineral rights in South Africa excluding land rights, through the Rhodes Trust.

The mineral rights covered in excess of 1,7 million hectares over 523 farms and Rhodes later sold some of his land and retained mineral rights in South Africa.

The Rhodes Trust left the mineral rights in equal shares to modern Zimbabwe and Zambia but the process of transferring them is not yet complete.

Rhodesia Railways became Zimbabwe-Zambia Pvt Ltd (Ziza), a subsidiary of ERP.

Zimbabwe and Zambia jointly incorporated the ERP (PVT) LTD in 1997 to manage the indivisible assets through the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), while South Africa shares are held through African Exploration and Mining Finance Corporation.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding and based on this background, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa formed PAMDC to hold and exploit the mineral rights.

They hold equal shareholding but PAMDC has been dormant over the years because South Africa had not seconded people to the board.

Once fully constituted, PAMDC will start exploration work to establish the type, full extent and value of the minerals.

South Africa Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe met Zimbabwe and Zambia Transport Ministers Felix Mhona and Frank Tayali respectively on Saturday and they described the outcome as historic.

Minister Mhona said the development was testimony of success of the Second Republic's policy of engagement and re-engagement locally and beyond borders.

"This is historic because after the initial agreement was signed in 2005, the issue of pursuing our rights was not taken seriously.

"With the advent of the Second Republic, His Excellency President Mnangagwa then said we need to pursue our interests and make sure we are vibrant again in PAMDC, a creative of the three sister countries where Zimbabwe and Zambia are in it through a vehicle called Emerged Railway Companies with about 67 percent in terms of shareholding in the 1,6 million hectares of land in South Africa. I am happy that heeding from the wise counsel of President Mnangagwa to consolidate what we have under PAMDC, precisely this is what has happened today," said Minister Mhona.

He said now was time for action and taking a business approach for PAMDC.

"I am happy that South Africa has now come on board and are giving the two directors that were requested by PAMDC to constitute a full board. The stance that we have taken today will see a new trajectory going forward," said Minister Mhona.
He said the three ministers will report back to their principals and an evaluation meeting will be held in September.

The minister said perseverance and endurance saw Zimbabwe and Zambia convincing South Africa to join the party through continuous engagements over the years.

Two mining licences for the mineral deposits are already renewed while five others will be renewed in due course, added Minister Mhona.

Minister Tayali said PAMDC should immediately start commercial exploitation of the minerals.

"We were here to chart a way forward about a property that was bequeathed to the Rhodesia Railways to the extent of 1,7 million hectares of mineral-rich land. There have been talks for many years on how Zimbabwe and Zambia could benefit from exploitation and utilisation of the minerals on the property and it was deemed proper in 2005 to bring South Africa for the purpose of having equal shareholding for smooth operation.

"What has happened today is historic because for a long time we failed to constitute a full board but now South Africa agreed to constitute two board members to form a quorum and begin to work," said Minister Tayali.

Minister Mantashe said now is the time to "pump life into PAMDC," and shareholders and board must work together.

"South Africa has always been there as a founding member of PAMDC and as far as we are concerned PAMDC has a lot of potential which has not been exploited. In South Africa it was given five mining rights and it didn't exploit a single one. I think that it is incumbent upon us to pump life into it and grow it," he said.

Source - The Chronicle