Zim plans new controls on mineral sales

HARARE - Zimbabwe is considering forcing mines to sell all their output to the state, a new draft policy document says, promising miners they will receive “fair and transparent market prices”.

The policy document proposes to do this through the state-owned Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

The draft report says this was part of creating a “transparent and competitive auction procedure for known mineral deposits”.

Further, the new policy threatens to restrict the mining of certain minerals, including diamonds, to state-owned or state-connected companies.

Zimbabwe’s mines and mining development ministry said in a statement on Monday that it would soon start consultations on plans to reform the country’s mining policy. Mining executives, who requested not to be named, told Business Day on Monday that policy uncertainty was not conducive to investment in the sector.

“This just adds onto the uncertainty because we do not have a rigid policy framework,” one mining company executive said.

“Laws and policies just change, and this doesn’t do any good.”

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines has said it is continually engaging the government on various issues regarding the mining policy framework.

Engagements are also expected between the government and the chamber on proposed amendments to the Indigenisation Act, which, if passed, will rule out monetary compensation for foreign-owned miners.

“In Zimbabwe, mining is the engine for economic growth,” said Ted Muzoroza, a mining law and policy expert based in Harare.

“A sound and clear policy on property rights promotes investments especially in mining, given the capital-intensive outlay and risk involved. The sanctity of property rights should be upheld.” — BusinessDay

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