Zim to install mining cadastre

HARARE - Zimbabwe has floated a tender for the development and installation of a mining cadastre information system to help ascertain the players in the sector and assist in the administration of mining activities.

The cadastre system is an electronic register of all miners.

It will record the geographical location, ownership and time validity of mining rights and show compliance with the payment of fees and other requirements required to keep a concession valid.

Currently, mining claims demarcations are marked on the ground by metal stakes, concrete beacons or similar fixed points that were surveyed using conventional methods such as a theodolite or older ways involving tape and chains.

The methods are time-consuming and demand a high level of skill to produce accurate surveys, with errors in locations of points on maps and on the ground being common.

Recently, Mines minister Walter Chidakwa indicated that he had engaged the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe to assist with funding for the development of a mines register.

Mining experts say the register would be the focal point for all applicants and licence holders.

All applications, requests and communications regarding a mining licence and documents would be obtained directly from it.

In order to improve service delivery, it is envisaged procedures will be streamlined, thereby reducing processing time for issuance of mining title and other services.

This will bring Zimbabwe in line with other countries in the region and elsewhere in terms of efficiencies in services provided to investors and the general mining public.

However, industry analysts argue that for a mining cadastre to be successful, it had to achieve a balance between protecting and guaranteeing the rights of the State and the titleholders.

“To achieve this balance, it is essential for the cadastre to ensure transparency in cadastral management for cadastral procedures and information,” said Bill Feast, chief executive of the South African-based company, Spatial Dimension.

“All the criteria and parameters to be considered and evaluated in the process of granting a licence also have to be objective and not subject to interpretation, and the decisions pertaining to the legal and regulatory framework have to be nondiscretionary,” he said.

Feast further added that there were various challenges with regard to the implementation of a mining cadastre system that had to be taken into account to ensure that the system functioned optimally.

These challenges included the political will in a specific country, vested interests by officials in a non-transparent policy environment, on-going regulatory changes and a large number of touch points in the mining permit or right approval process.

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