Zimbabwe’s government reserves highly mineralised zones only for large scale developments — Mines deputy minister

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By Anna Chibamu

THE government says it is reserving some highly mineralised zones known as Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) countrywide only for large scale mining developments to cushion State revenue.

Responding to Zanu PF Chivi Member of Parliament (MP), Felix Maburutse, over concerns by the public who are failing to access the zones’ mining rights, Mines Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said government wanted to control such areas rich in endowments only for large scale mining operations for the State to benefit from taxes.

Deputy Mines Minister Polite Kambamura

Recently, the government through the Mines ministry suspended a number of EPOs and stopped any new registrations for the public sector.

An EPO confers exclusive rights to prospect for specified minerals in an identified location within Zimbabwe.

EPOs are issued for three years, renewable up to a maximum of six years.

Last Wednesday, during the Question and Answer session in Parliament, Maburutse said the issue of EPOs was a serious concern amongst Zimbabweans who want to venture into mining.

“Minister, what are you doing as far as these EPOs are concerned? I believe some two months ago, the Mines ministry suspended a number of EPOs but our people are not allowed to peg on those suspended EPO areas.

“Why is the ministry refusing our people to peg on the suspended EPOs?” Maburutse said.

Kambamura told the Speaker Jacob Mudenda that the ministry had started processing EPO applications.

“During processing, some EPOs were not successful and others were successful. Some EPOs that were granted time back expired, but in a way, to control areas of high mineral potential for the benefit of government through large scale development.

“The Minister (Winston Chitando) has put some reservations over those areas so that we control highly mineralised zones for large scale development,” Kambamura said.

The deputy minister highlighted that If anyone was willing to peg on those areas, he/she can write to the ministry for special approval.

He added that those given special mining rights in such areas were subject to monitoring as ministry officials will follow up to assess progress and account for minerals.