By Oliver Kazunga
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has dismissed social media reports insinuating that Government has increased mining fees but admitted a proposal to review the rates has been made.
Recent reports had indicated the Government would increase statutory fees for the mining sector by almost 300 percent, a move that left stakeholders in a state of shock.
Addressing a Press conference at a Bulawayo hotel yesterday, Minister Chitando, who was accompanied by the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation public relations manager, Mr Dosman Mangisi, said:
“I have felt it was important just to clarify an issue which has appeared in the public domain probably in the last few days relating to the reported increase in mining fees.
“The long and short of it is mining fees have not been increased. There is a proposal discussion within the ministry to review the mining fees but the process has not even taken off in terms of internal consultation within the ministry and later on consultation within Government. As a result the long and short of it, there are no mining fees that have been increased.”
Minister Chitando said if mining rates and charges were to be reviewed, discussions in that regard would take a consultative process.
“These discussions to review the mining fees will take a consultative process after which the increases will then be made,” he said.
At present, application fees for platinum and chrome (ordinary prospecting licence) are pegged at US$500 each while an application for an Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) (non-refundable) are US$2 000 and US$2 000 for a special grant to prospect application.
Meanwhile, Minister Chitando also clarified the issuance of EPOs saying the Government has so far gazetted 40 EPOs. He said following the gazetting of those EPOs, objections were received by the mining affairs board.
“The procedure for EPOs issuance states that we provide for interested stakeholders to object where they believe that they will be compromised once the EPO in question has been issued. So, the mining affairs board is seized with objections within those 40 EPOs and the procedures in terms of the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act stipulates that once you have an objection with respect to an EPO which is being considered, the mining affairs board will request the interested parties to come and make presentations,” he said.
“So, they will request those who have objected to come in and state the reasons for the objection. And they will also then call the applicant for the EPO to come and present the case and then the mining affairs board will then make a determination as to whether or not to recommend the issuance of the EPO”. The Chronicle