ARC Minerals chairman Nick von Schirnding says the decision to appoint businessman Valentine Chitalu as the company’s director was agreed “well before the recent Zambian elections”.
He was reacting to a story published by the Mast last month titled, UK’s Arc Minerals appoints “President’s man” Chitalu as director.
Arc Minerals Limited, a UK registered mining company, recently announced businessman and mining expert Chitalu as its non-executive director.
But Chitalu’s appointment has been criticised as part of Arc Minerals Limited’s unyielding desperation to use political connections in its long-standing battle for Kalaba Mine owned by ZAMSORT, a local mining company in which it has shares, as shareholders boast of him being the “President’s man”.
Schirnding announced that the Zambian businessman would now be ‘promoted’ to be an actual director on the Arc Minerals’ board.
“I am delighted that Valentine has agreed to join our board which further strengthens our Zambian presence. Valentine brings a wealth of experience as a successful entrepreneur with an extensive international and Zambian network both within the mining sector and beyond. I look forward to working closely with Valentine as we progress our exciting exploration projects in Zambia,” Schirnding said on the appointment of Chitalu, 57.
Arc Minerals Limited is embroiled in a running legal battle with Zambian investors over the control of Kalaba Mine in North Western Province.
Local entrepreneur and investor, Mumema Mushinge, has led a consortium of Zambians that have sued Arc Minerals Limited over unpaid $5.8 million for shares sold in ZAMSORT, which owns Kalaba mine.
Arc Minerals Limited has been using some Zambian individuals to register surrogate companies to hold on to mining rights which by law they are supposed to surrender to the State following their legal expiry.
One such company is Handa Resources registered at the end of 2020, in which former ZAF commander Lt Gen Sande Kayumba is a director. Other directors include Caleb Mulenga and Chitalu.
However, sources say Arc Minerals hope by promoting Chitalu, a decision purely based on the outcome of the August 12, polls, it would help it galvanise State House support in trying to secure the mineral resource from indigenous Zambians.
Arc Minerals sources describe Chitalu as the “President’s man” and as a silver bullet for their legal problems and running battle with the communities in North Western Province.
But reacting to the story, Schirnding said the article “is grossly misleading and inaccurate”.
“Arc Minerals had agreed the appointment of Mr Chitalu well before the recent Zambian elections and so the statement that he was appointed ‘purely based on the outcome of the August 12 polls’ is inaccurate and needs to be corrected,” he demanded.
“In addition, the article states ‘One such company is Handa Resources registered at the end of 2020, in which former ZAF commander Lt Gen Sande Kayumba is director. Other directors include Caleb Mulenga and Chitalu.’ Neither Mr Mulenga and Mr Chitalu are directors of Handa Resources.”