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[OPINION] DRC IMPOSTER GOES FOR ZAMBIAN MINES: Tshisekedi, Hichilema Team Up To Drain Minerals In Zambia

It is reported that the Democratic Republic of Congo regime of Felix Tshisekedi introduced Mopani Copper Mines’ new equity partner – International Resources Holdings (IRH) – to Zambia’s State House.

It is also reported that Abu Dhabi- based IRH is currently engaged in a legal dispute with some Congolese firms whose concessions have been illegally taken over by the Tshisekedi regime and handed to IRH in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yesterday, we announced that there were stories flying around that Mr Hakainde Hichilema has sold to himself, Mopani Copper Mines.

According to the stories circulating, it is being reported that around June 20, 2023, four firms were shortlisted as successful bidders for the acquisition of a stake in Mopani Copper Mines. These firms were Sibanye, Zijin Mining, Norinco Group, and a Consortium of exGlencore officials.

And that around July 2023, it was rumoured that Sibanye Still Waters and Zinjing were the only two remaining successful bidders contending to acquire equity in Mopani Copper Mines after Norinco Group and a Consortium of ex-Glencore officials were dropped.

It is also being reported that around August 2023, a “secret” company threw in a late bid through State House, and this delayed the announcing of the successful bidder for Mopani Copper Mines. Can this government explain why the “secret” company’s bid came through State House? Can they also explain the relationship between this “secret” company and the Tshisekedi regime?

And that On October 17, 2023, it was announced that Jubilee Metals Group and Mopani Copper Mines formed a JV for the Slag Project in Mufulira, targeting 13 Mt of historical slag with estimated copper and cobalt deposits.

That on December 1, 2023, ZCCM-Investment Holdings announced that an affiliated company of Abu Dhabi conglomerate International Resources Holdings (IRH) is the preferred bidder to take over Mopani Copper Mine (MCM)

And that on December 12, 2023, it was announced that Jubilee Metals Group had formed a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi-based International Resources Holdings (IRH) to recover copper from a historic waste dump in Zambia. This partnership entailed that “Under the funding term sheet IRH undertakes to provide all capital to the tune of $50m required by the special purpose vehicle through a combination of equity in the special purpose vehicle and shareholder loans.

On March 6, 2024, it was announced that Jubilee Metals Group plc, a leading diversified metals processor in Africa, with a substantial contribution to global chrome concentrate production in South Africa (SA Operations) and expanding copper operations in Zambia (Zambia Operations), has announced the formation of dedicated executive subsidiary boards to better reflect the current levels of business maturity attained by the South African and Zambia operations and capture and implement the various growth opportunities. The Zambian Board will include Jubilee’s Chief Executive Officer, Leon Coetzer, as chairperson of the Zambian Board and joined by current Chief of Energy Metals, Ricus Grimbeek, as Managing Director. Mr Muna Hantuba, a businessman offering a wealth of local industry and country knowledge, will also join the Zambian Board.

Who is Mr Muna Hantuba? Mr Hantuba is a long-time close business associate, agent, and confidant of Mr Hichilema and is said to be the man running some of his businesses.

It’s being reported that the above sequence of events starting from the coming of the International Resources Holdings late bid for Mopani Copper Mines through State House and eventual success of the same bid and then the Jubilee Metals Group’s JV with Mopani Copper Mines vis a vis the partnership of Jubilee Metals Group with the International Resources Holdings (IHR) and the $50 million loan by IHR to Jubilee Metals Group to the appointment of Mr Hantuba is something that should raise eye brows as it can be a case of a deal by State House disguised in investment into Mopani.

It is being questioned if this is a mere coincidence that Mr Hichilema’s confidant and business associate and agent can be associated with the sale of Mopani and have an indirect stake in the slug dump by virtual of sitting on the Jubilee Metals Group Board?

Further, can this government disclose to the nation the current valuation of the current assets such as the Henderson shaft, the scycronoriam, the new smelter, the concentrator, and the Mindola shaft?

It is being reported that all these facilities are new and state of the art, built at a huge cost, and that at the point of exit, all these facilities were supposed to be commissioned. Also, let them explain what the value of the 51 per cent consideration is and what has been paid so far? And how did IRH, a company established in 2022, slightly after Mr Hichilema and the UPND took over office, become the preferred bidder for a strategic national asset like Mopani Copper Mines? What criteria did they apply?

Like we said yesterday, all these stories, reports and revelations about this transaction deserve explanations from Mr Hichilema, since he has sold a huge stake in Mopani Copper Mines without parliamentary approval in blatant violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia.

Let Mr Hichilema come clean on these issues. Zambians deserve to know the truth.

Dr. Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

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