The Lusaka High Court has granted Avarmma Mining leave for judicial review against the decision of the Minister of Mines who cancelled its Katokamema large scale prospecting mine licence and awarded it to Kasempa Community and ZCCM Investment Holdings.
Judge Bobo Banda that the leave for judicial review will also act as a stay restraining Kasempa Community and ZCCM-IH from taking possession of the mining area and properties belonging to Avarmma Mining until the final determination of the application for judicial review.
Last Sunday, Minister of Mines Christopher Yaluma cancelled the prospecting licence belonging to Avarmma and gave it to the community and ZCCM-IH but Avarmma filed for leave to issue judicial review proceedings against the decision of Mr Yaluma.
According to court documents, the mining company stated that it has not committed any offence for which such a punitive conversion of the mining right to its detriment should have been undertaken without being given an opportunity to be heard.
“If Avarmma has committed any offence, they should have been prosecuted under the Act but the Minister deprived the company of its mine without notice or any reasons and without being heard,” it stated.
It stated that the Minister is not a member of the Mining Advisory Committee and cannot exercise his powers without consultation with the Committee.
“The procedure for the cancellation of a large scale prospecting licence was not adhered to and the subsequent decision was illegal and no decision at all. The Minister acted ultra vires as there is a restriction in the Act as to how he can exercise his powers, his failure to consult the Committee is fatal,” it stated.
In his affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for leave to apply for judicial review, Avarmma Mining managing director Andrei Fateev said the company was granted a prospecting licence by the Department of Mines in conjunction with the Geological Survey Department.
“There is also a beacon certificate and the coordinates showing that the owner of the licence is Avarmma Mining. The company has spent colossal sums of money in paying consultants to complete the environmental impact assessment and the company also flew into the country a Russian geologist to undertake the ore reserve statement,” he stated.