Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) has welcomed reports that the Zambian High Court has ordered the Minister for Mines to decide an appeal by an Argonaut subsidiary, Mwombezhi Resources Ltd.
The appeal is against the purported cancellation of the Lumwana West licence and the hasty and illegal re- grant to a newly registered company. The Minister must decide the appeal within 30 days.
This order comes two months after the same court suspended both the cancellation of the Lumwana West licence, and the grant of a new licence over the same area.
Legal action by Argonaut is aimed at the prompt reinstatement of the Lumwana West licence in North- western Zambia to the company’s 90% held subsidiary, Mwombezhi.
• In January 2022, Mwombezhi filed an appeal to the Zambian Minister for Mines and Mineral Development, Paul Kabuswe, against the alleged illegal grant of a new licence over the Lumwana West area.
• On 12 October 2022, Argonaut filed an application to the Zambian High Court for judicial review of the Minister’s allegedly inordinate delay in deciding this appeal.
• The judicial review application sought orders to have the appeal decided promptly.
• On 6 February 2023, the High Court issued a writ of mandamus compelling the Minister to decide the appeal within 30 days.
Lindsay Owler, Director and CEO, said Argonaut believes that alledged maladministration and alleged illegal actions on the part of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development have been demonstrated in its appeal submissions.
“The order made this week is a testimony to the independence of the Zambian courts and to the government’s commitment to the separation of powers,” Mr Owler said.
“This order speaks to three of the central tenents of President Hakainde Hichilema’s UPND government, specifically: the rule of law; anti-corruption; and Zambian prosperity via increased copper production.
“Argonaut’s licence difficulties have justifiably gained an international profile as a test case. The court’s order provides the Minister and the broader UPND government with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the attractiveness of Zambia as a foreign investment destination.”
For further information please visit: https://www.argonautresources.com/