THE cancellation of exclusive prospective orders (EPOs) by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has resulted in the release of additional ground, permanent secretary Prince Mupazviriho said.
Report by Our Staff Writer
He was speaking at the Utho Capitol Zimbabwe Mining Indaba held in the capital this week.
Two weeks ago, the ministry withdrew over 344 EPOs for several mining and prospecting companies in a bid to deal with speculative holding of mining rights in the capital-intensive sector.
Among some of the major mining and prospecting companies whose EPOs were withdrawn were RioZim, Ashanti Goldfieds, African Gold and Metallon Gold Exploration.
A company linked to National Railways of Zimbabwe general manager Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai, CMT Karakadzai and another one Muzambi were also affected, while Zambezi Gold, which had 34 applications, was the most affected.
Mupazviriho, who chairs the Mining Affairs Board responsible for allocating the EPOs, said the government had withdrawn the EPOs after it emerged they had been lying idle for over 10 years.
“We have been looking at it since April. We invited everyone from 500 EPOs to indicate if they were still interested. We then withdrew the EPOs for those who ignored the order,” he said.
Mupazviriho said the ministry would push for the enforcement of “use it or lose it” policy for land that would not be used in the immediate future.
Owing to lack of extensive exploration after independence in 1980, government is taking steps to ensure that there is an increase in exploration activities.
Investment opportunities exist in Greenfield explorations and known highly prospective areas. There are a number of projects at embryonic stage in the country. There are also a number of small-scale miners who hold good claims but lack the capital to develop them.
Mupazviriho said that amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act would be complete by November this year, while the Precious Stones and Trade Act would be incorporated into the Precious Stones Act.
He said the Zimbabwe Diamond Policy was now in place and would facilitate the optimisation and exploitation of diamond mining in the country.
Mupazviriho added that the structures around the policy would address the structural deficiencies of the current legislation.
Chamber of Mines president Winston Chitando said the sector requires US$5-7 billion to recapitalise.
Mupazviriho added there was need to look at every mineral to see how the sector could come up with beneficiation strategies.
However, Chitando said the ministry should come up with a mineral development policy, adding there was a lot of beneficiation taking place in the country today except in the