HomeBusiness DigestGlittering prices lure miners

Glittering prices lure miners

Roadwin Chirara

THE surge in international prices of precious minerals is reportedly catching the attention of speculative mining ventures.

s-serif”>Officials in the Ministry of Mines say there has been a significant increase in the number applications for exploration rights, many of them interested in precious minerals.

“Of the applications that we have received, many of the applicants have shown interest in platinum group metals,” said a ministry official. He said the low cost of exploration rights charges of $2 per hectare and the market prices of certain minerals were fuelling the demand.

He said the ministry had over 200 exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs) in operation. He however said many collapsed in the first month of exploration because of lack of funds and technical know-how.

The official said many companies were going under after failing to find minerals in their allocated areas. He said some of the companies had approached the ministry seeking cancellation of their rights citing viability problems.

The source said in certain instances big companies used their financial muscle to take over some mining ventures.

In May, Mines minister, Amos Midzi, revoked 13 EPOs because the holding companies had either failed to find minerals or lacked financial resources to pursue further explorations.

The ministry also repossessed 1 261 mines which it said were being underutilised and kept for speculative purposes. Zimbabwe is set to earn US$550 million from about 600 000 ounces of platinum this year, a marked increase from last year’s figure of US$150 million.

Platinum and gold are currently trading at around US$824,50/oz and US$394,70/oz respectively.

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