ZIMPLATS Chief Executive Officer Alex Mhembere has been elected unopposed as new president of the Chamber of Mines unopposed at the organisation’s annual general meeting in Nyanga. He takes over from Mimosa’s CEO Winston Chitando.
The 74th annual general conference is being held at a time when consultations on the country’s draft mining policy are underway throughout the country while significant progress has also been made in implementing the indigenisation programme in the sector.
Most miners are however struggling with viability problems that include unavailability of working capital, old equipment and low investments.
Outgoing president Chitando said the Chamber may soon engage government over compulsory acquisition of excess mining ground by the State amid concerns that the new “use-it-or-lose-it policy” could affect mineral output.
He said the chamber is currently preparing a paper that will soon be presented to government as it seeks clarity on the mining policy.
“The issue of excess land is an input we are putting in the mineral development policy. The chamber wants to understand the definition of excess land and how it should be handled when deemed to be in excess,” said Chitando.
The call comes after the government announced plans to repossess over 27,000 hectares of land from platinum miner Zimplats. The land to be acquired represents about 50 percent of the mining claims owned by Zimplats.
Chitando said the Chamber was also in the process of drafting a comprehensive document to be submitted to the ministry by early next week which will seek clarity on issues such as mining charges, beneficiation, land administration and definition of excess land.
On the sector’s compliance with the indigenisation laws, Chitando said companies were at various stages of discussions with the ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment.
Chitando, who is also the managing director of Mimosa Platinum, said discussions were underway between his company and the ministry on how the producer would be indigenisation-compliant.
“As Mimosa we received the term-sheet as of last year in December and since then there are discussions on the way forward. As expected, the term sheet was to lay the basis of the final agreement which is a matter of discussion, but we are talking,” he said.Advertisement
Last year Mimosa, a joint venture between Implats, Acquarius and indigenous partners signed agreements that would allow indigenous partners to acquire 51 percent of the platinum producer in a transaction valued at US$550 million.