Chinese mine still won't pay Rehoboth

The Rehoboth town council is still trying to get a Chinese-owned mining company to pay rent for the townland where it operates.

14 January 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



The Rehoboth town council has been instructed to assess the value of the Chinese African Huaxia Group in a renewed bid to recoup outstanding rent.

Until recently, the council had demanded close to N$15 million from the mine, an amount that is likely to change once the valuation is completed. This was confirmed by the council's chief executive officer, Simeon Kanime, who said the Chinese African Huaxia Group has been operating the mine on townland for close to ten years without paying rent.

“The council must now valuate the mining site and determine a rental amount based on the value of the mine. The position of the council is that that amount should be backdated to the time they started to mine there,” he said. Windhoek law firm Koepp and Partners, which represents the Chinese African Huaxia Group, told Namibian Sun in 2019 that their client did not agree with the amount of money being demanded. According to Kanime, African Huaxia Group is refusing to pay rent, claiming that they never signed a rental agreement with the council.

The company was supposed to pay N$35 000 a month for the land, but no formal contract was ever signed.

The mining company did make sporadic payments for water and electricity, which prompted the council to suspend services.

Namibian Sun understands that the reason why the Chinese company got away with mining without a lease agreement is because it kept insisting on negotiating the terms and conditions and never signed the contract.

Mining operations have since been suspended at the site.

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