By Itai Mazire
A massive restructuring exercise is looming at the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) as Government moves in to sanitise the entity which has been sitting on thousands of mining claims countrywide for over a decade.
Similar changes will also be effected at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) while the Mines and Minerals Act will be reviewed to give impetus to the two entities.
In an interview, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said the ZMDC — Government’s mining arm — has failed to carry out its mandate, hence the sweeping changes which are meant to enhance efficiency.
“As a ministry we have noted that the ZMDC current balance sheet as at year-end (2013) has several concessions for a wide range of minerals they are sitting on with a majority of them lying idle for several years.
“We established that ZMDC, as Government’s mining arm, is in some instances sitting on these mining claims for speculative purposes and this has negatively affected the country’s mining sector.
“There is need for us to go back to the drawing board and review the Mines and Minerals Act with a solution to strengthen the ‘use it or lose it policy’ and with this we are not only targeting ZMDC but other players in the private sector who are also holding mining claims for speculative purposes,” said Chidhakwa.
He added that Government wants the ZMDC to be accountable.
“There is an urgent need for us to move into ZMDC and resuscitate mines that have been lying idle for several years. These include Shabanie-Mashava Mines, Sabi gold mines and Kamativi tin mine.
“The ZMDC balance sheet has several other concessions of minerals hence the need for us as a ministry to move in and establish if the mining arm is working according to its mandate.
“Once we have established a board at ZMDC, it has potential to be a real driver of the economy and develop the mining sector. At the same time we need to monitor the operations in MMCZ since it is interdependent on ZMDC.
“One is the mining and the other is the marketing entity hence there is need to check their balance sheets and operations,” added Chidhakwa.
In 2012, the ZMDC revealed that it had 16 mines under its portfolio. Four are wholly owned by the entity while the other 12 are joint ventures. The corporation also signed 18 non-disclosure agreements for exploration in gold, diamonds, tanzanite and copper.
Late last year, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Fred Moyo disclosed that only 10 percent of the 10 000 issued mining claims were being utilised. The Sunday Mail