Further to the expectation announced in our recent Chairman’s Review, shareholder agreements pertaining to our mining objectives have now been concluded.
A new company to be named Meikles Centar Mining (Private) Limited has been formed. This company will be controlled by Meikles to ensure that the entity is compliant with the Zimbabwe Indigenisation and Empowerment laws.
Centar is a mining company founded by Ian Hannam and Jan Kulczyk and supported by a number of prominent and highly experienced investors from countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Poland, Kazakhstan and elsewhere. It was founded initially to develop mining assets in Afghanistan in partnership with a highly respected Afghan businessman. It is leading the way in the development of that country’s mining industry as it emerges from years of conflict, using foreign and Afghan capital, foreign technical experts and Afghan staff. Its Afghan businesses employ over 500 local staff, supported on the ground at any one time by 15 ex-pat technical experts – the majority of whom are Zimbabwean nationals. These businesses include Afghanistan’s only Drilling and Exploration Services Company and Afghanistan’s only Mineral Assay laboratory. It also includes an exploration company that is now exploring a gold prospect in the north of the country as well as being short-listed in a government tender as the preferred candidate to explore and develop 2 copper exploration licenses, and a Joint Venture with a Turkish Mining Company that has itself been short-listed to develop 4 more gold exploration licenses there.
Centar has a carefully selected in-house technical team, with years of experience in exploration and mining of most minerals in many different countries in the world. This includes the requisite experience to develop projects at every stage of the mining life cycle, and in all environments. It is also a proven leader in drawing upon or building local capacity and skills as a core part of its method of operation. They are also supported by an experienced finance and commercial team with a long and successful track record of financing worldwide mining projects of every scale. They will work with the Meikles team to develop identified opportunities in gold, tantalite and iron ore. Further opportunities will also be explored. It is expected that at least one mine will be in operation in early 2014.
At the forthcoming Meikles Limited Annual General Meeting shareholder approval will be sought to include mining resources in the business of the Company.