Govt looks into mining database bids

HARARE - Government is looking into bids for the development and installation of a mining cadastre information system, deputy Mines minister Fred Moyo has said.

The system — an electronic register showing details of ownership and value of land; for the purpose of taxation —  is expected to help Zimbabwe ascertain the number of players in the mining sector and also assist in the administration of the industry’s activities.

“The adjudication process will result in a successful bidder who will design, install hardware and software, train and computerise the current manual cadastre system within 18 months,” Moyo told Parliament last week.

He, however, was not certain about how long the process would take.

Recently, the Mines ministry floated a tender for the development and installation of the cadastre system.

Apart from ownership details, the system will also record miners’ geographical location, time validity of their mining rights and details on compliance with payment of fees and other requirements 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.

Moyo said his ministry had arranged for a study tour of countries that had successfully implemented a mining cadastre system, a process expected to assist the ministry in its adjudication process.

South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania have already installed cadastre systems.

Recently, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa indicated that he had engaged the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe to assist with funding for the development of the 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 titles 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.

Meanwhile, Moyo said government was yet to draft a priority list for minerals that will be assessed as it seeks to evaluate the country’s mineral value through the newly- formed National Mining Company (NMC).

He said although the NMC board was already in place; and the ministry was resourcing staff, they had not yet decided on the minerals to be evaluated.

“This company is going to carry out exploration work as quickly as possible. The Board is already in place, the drilling equipment is in place and we are now looking for analytical equipment.

“What is still outstanding is to come up with a priority list of the minerals that we are going to start with,” Moyo said.

It is national policy that government carries out exploration work and creates a mineral balance sheet for the country.

“A lot of ground is now available in the country for companies that want to investigate our mineral endowment,” he said.

 

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