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Zimbabwe to Cancel African Consolidated Claims, Minister Says

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe will cancel all mineral claims held by Maidstone, England-based African Consolidated Resources Plc, said Obert Mpofu, the country’s mines minister.

The licenses “will be revoked because there were irregularities when they were issued,” Mpofu said in a phone interview from the capital, Harare, today. “All of them were acquired fraudulently.” He said the cancellation isn’t related to President Robert Mugabe’s warning last week that U.K. companies may face sanctions.

Mugabe said on Dec. 17 that it’s “time to read the riot act” to the U.K. and other Western countries which have imposed sanctions against the president and some other members of his ruling party.

ACR has been involved in a dispute with the government over its rights to the Marange diamond field. The company has been active in Zimbabwe since 2004 and has interests in gold, nickel, platinum and other commodities, according to its website.

Andrew Cranswick, chief executive officer of ACR, said the company has done nothing wrong. “None of our claims, including those in Marange, were improperly acquired,” he said in a phone interview from the U.K. today. “We will do everything we can to protect our rights.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Nelson Gore Banya in Johannesburg at ngbanya@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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