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Mining chamber says no concerns over plan to seize un-utilised mining claims

BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe’s mines chamber on Saturday says it has no concerns over a new law which allows the state to seize un-utilised mining claims with effect from January 2017, as long as the process is orderly.

Chamber of Mines president Alex Mhembere
Chamber of Mines president Alex Mhembere

Zimbabwe said idle mining claims will be forfeited to the state after a period of three years beginning this month. It contends that the policy, announced by finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his 2014 budget presentation last month, would quicken the pace of development in mining.

Several mining conglomerates, among them the local unit of South Africa’s Implats, the second largest platinum producer in the world; Zimasco; ZimAlloys; Falcon Gold and Caledonia Mining Corporation among others are believed to be holding on to large tracts of un-utilised mining claims, particularly along the 600-kilometres Great Dyke and other mineral-rich parts of Southern Zimbabwe.

“In situations where resources are not fully utilised, then plans to bring to production will be pursued. The Chamber of Mines supports an orderly and development focused initiatives to improve the economic development of the country and its people,” said Chamber of Mines president, Alex Mhembere in an emailed response to questions from The Source.

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“We believe that if policy changes are communicated adequately and any possible grey areas clarified, it should not result in material erosion of investor confidence.”

Small-scale miners have come out in support of the measure, which they say opens up opportunities for new players in the industry.

“There are big mining companies which have been paying protection fees yet there are not working on the claims,” said Wellington Takavarasha, an association for small scale miners.

“This measure is a way of getting more people empowered.” The Source