LONDON (Zimbabwe Investor) – Hospitality and retail group Meikles Africa has formed a new company Meikles Centar Mining (Private), in partnership with a company created by a former JP Morgan Cazenove executive fined by UK’s Financial Services Authority for market abuse.
Centar is a mining company founded by former JP Morgan Cazenove executive Ian Hannam who recruited a former commanding officer of a British SAS regiment Richard Williams to run its gold mining venture in the war-torn Afghanistan. Hannam was forced to step down his post at JP Morgan Cazenove following the market abuse allegations.
The Afghan venture was backed by billionaires and prominent businessmen who included Poland’s richest man Jan Kulczyk.
In a statement on Monday, Meikles Africa said that the new company would be controlled by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange entity in order to comply with the country’s indigenisation laws.
“Centar is 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” reads the statement to shareholders.
“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”.
Meikles Africa in 2012 announced that it would be venturing into mining with operations expected to start in 2014. The group obtained a special mining grant which allows it to prospect for various minerals including iron ore and chrome in the Midlands region of Zimbabwe.