THE government is finalising work on the Mines and Minerals Bill which will among, other things, discourage speculative activities in the mining sector as well as facilitate the economic empowerment of the country’s previously disadvantaged black majority.
Mines and Mining Development Minister, Obert Mpofu said the Bill would be brought before Parliament in the third quarter of the year.
In a statement, Mpofu said government will adopted “a use it or lose it policy which is aimed at pushing claim holders to utilize their claims or risk having them repossessed”.
“An overhaul of the old system will include new issues that address the release of ground held for speculative purposes, the holding of land by people who do not mine and people who want to sell claims they do not own,” he said.
“In addition to the Mines and Minerals Act there will be formulation of a Diamond Policy, Diamond act and other polices that will guide the operations of the mining activities through the country.
“The more you revolutionise statutes, the more relevant they become, the more user friendly they become, the more popular they become with people and people take advantage of them and operate in a sustainable manner.”
The mining industry has since called on the government to expedite the proposed amendments to so prospective investors are clear about the operating environment.
“As long as these amendments remain outstanding the investment environment remains unsettled and adds to the higher country risk rating,” said immediate past president of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines Victor Gapare said.
“The government and the mining industry have been consulting on the issue since 2002 and it is high time the amendments are finalised to give investors confidence in the legislative framework governing the mining industry”.
Gapare said potential investors had also lamented the lack of ground for new investment in mineral exploration.
“As members may be aware the country has been locked down by Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPO) applications going back to 2002 and the letter sent out to applicants for the payments of additional fees was received with mixed feelings,” he said.
“It would be important for the ministry to clarify this position for transparency and to act within the confines of existing regulations and notice circulation to industry. The industry looks forward to periodic announcements on how much ground is available for mineral exploration.”