Mining Veteran Quits Zimbabwe Firm Tied to Economic Revival

Source: Mining Veteran Quits Zimbabwe Firm Tied to Economic Revival

(Bloomberg) — David Brown, chief executive officer of Zimbabwe’s Kuvimba Mining House Ltd., which holds the nation’s key mining assets, said he quit the firm in August.

The 58-year-old mining executive said the company named Simba Chinyemba as the new CEO. Brown, who told Bloomberg in June that he planned to step down, will remain a non-executive director at Kuvimba’s listed unit Bindura Nickel Corp. and Great Dyke Investments, which aims to develop one of the world’s biggest platinum mines. Chinyemba said via text message that Kuvimba “hasn’t yet appointed a new CEO.”

The government says that together with state-controlled entities it holds 65% of Kuvimba, which also has nickel and chrome operations. But documents, emails and WhatsApp messages seen and reported on by Bloomberg on May 11 show how, through a complex series of transactions, the assets that form the core of its holdings were until recently owned by or tied to Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a politically connected businessman.

“I left because of effectively all the noise just making it difficult to do some good stuff there,” Brown said in a phone interview.

Read more: Tycoon May Have Shifted Assets to Zimbabwe After U.S. Sanctions

Kuvimba says it aims to revive a number of neglected gold and chrome operations, projects that are key to boosting the nation’s economy. Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, earlier this year said Brown was appointed to head the company because of his international experience and track record.

Tagwirei, an adviser to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sanctioned by the U.S. in August last year on allegations that he used political influence to gain access to scarce foreign currency and win lucrative deals. The U.S. linked him to the disappearance of $3 billion from a farm-subsidy program, and the U.K. in July sanctioned him for similar reasons.

Tagwirei couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone and didn’t respond to a text message seeking comment.