THE Attorney General has sued nine mining firms in the Lusaka High Court, seeking payment of K1.5 million from each company, being statutory penalties levied against them.
The companies, which have been separately sued, include; Adventex Investments Limited, Weixin company limited, Xihe Mining limited, Hocean Mining Company limited, Tongxin Company limited, Markov Investments Company limited, Jun Sheng Industry company, Bolo Mining Limited and Mineral Junction and Transport company.
The mining firms are located in Kalulushi, Chingola and Kitwe, on the Copperbelt Province.
In the statements of claim filed, Monday, Attorney General Mulilo Kabesha, stated that sometime in July 2017, the Geological Survey Department of the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development conducted an inspection on the operations and adherence of the defendants to the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Development Act No 11 of 2015.
Kabesha stated that during the inspection of the defendants’ mines, it was discovered that the firms have been operating mineral processing plants without licences, contrary to the provisions of the law.
He stated that the companies were fined five million penalty units statutory penalties, which translate to K1,500,000 on September 7, 2017.
Kabesha stated that the State issued several letters of demand to the defendants claiming the statutory penalties, but the defendants have refused, neglected and ignored to honour their obligations.
“The plaintiff has travelled on several occasions to the defendants’ known address in an attempt to settle this matter amicably but the defendant has not been open to settlement hence the commencement of this action to seek redress in this court of law,” he said.
Kabesha stated that the government has suffered damage and loss, in that the mines were processing minerals without licences, loss of tax on the money realised and loss of use of the same money.
He is now demanding punitive damages, damages for breach of statutory duty and that the companies account for all proceeds realised before the grant of the license, interest, costs and any other relief that the court may deem fit.