Nyala Mines to appeal licence snub

Nyala Mines Limited, which had a licence to mine rubies and sapphire at Chimwadzulu Hills in Ntcheu says it will appeal the High Court’s decision to dismiss the firms application for judicial review.

The company sought judicial review challenging government’s decision not to renew its mining licence which expired in October 2017.

Flashback: An aerial view of Nyala Mining Limited’s Chimwadzulu Mine in Ntcheu

Government argued in court that the licence renewal application was rejected because the company wanted to renew the permit a few days before the expiry date which is contrary to legal requirements stipulate that a holder of a mining licence must apply for renewal at least a year before its expiry.

Government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, Mining and Environment, has since granted the mining licence for ruby and sapphire to Mwalawanga Mining Company.

Nyala Mines, which was operating the Chimwadzulu Corundum Mining, was granted a 10-year contract to operate the mine, but government halted the miners operations in 2013.

The company then obtained a court injunction preventing the ministry from cancelling its licence.

But when government did not renew its contract last October and went ahead to grant the licence to Mwalawanga Mining Limited in January this year, Nyala Mines Limited applied for a judicial review on the matter.

In his ruling on February 13, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda dismissed the case arguing that government cannot be forced to renew a mining licence of any applicant.

“..government is not obliged to renew a mining license for any applicant. I believe that government reserves the discretion to grant a licence to any applicant that best meets the needs and criteria of government,” reads part of the ruling.

But in an interview on Tuesday, Nyala Mines Company secretary ChokaniMhango said his company was not satisfied with the ruling and has since instructed its legal representatives to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“We do not agree with the reasons given not to grant us a judicial review on the matter,” he said.

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