Minerals Act awaits AG's scrutiny

HARARE - The re-enactment of a new Mines and Minerals Act has been stalled as the draft document is currently at the Attorney-General’s office for consideration, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa has said.

He said the draft policy will be sent to Parliament for ratification and implementation after complete scrutiny by the AG’s office.

“Our problem is that at this very moment we have about 200 odd pieces of legislation at the Attorney-General’s office, all intending to comply with the new Constitution. They can only do so much in a day. I know the Justice ministry is working on mechanisms to speed up the processes,” said Chidhakwa.

Among the key issues to be incorporated in the policy are minerals governance, regulatory framework, equitable and competitive fiscal regime, minerals marketing, competing land rights and use options.

This comes as Zimbabwe has pinned its economic growth hopes on the mining and agriculture sectors.

However, a recent review of the resources sector’s 2014 growth projection to -1,9 percent from an initial 10,7 percent  has dampened prospects of further progression.

According to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s 2014 National Budget,  the mining sector was last year initially projected to grow by 17,1 percent, but the target was revised downwards to 6,5 percent mainly due to low exploration, lack of capital and weakening commodity prices on the international markets.

Chidhakwa said escalating production costs, limited access to long-term capital and depressed global metal prices continue to threaten the mining industry’s viability.

“There is nothing much you can do about international mineral prices.

The projection of more than 10 percent was predicated on a higher upward trend of nickel prices,” he said.

He noted that although nickel production had significantly grown, the growth had not met expectations.

“The hope was that the good price would trigger more production. The natural affinity of miners is that when prices are favourable, they would ramp up production,” said Chidhakwa adding that he still hoped production would increase before end of year.

 

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My hats off to Minister Chidhakwa for his sterling efforts in ensuring that his Officials adopt a business approach in their dealings dealings with stake holders within the Mining Industry. His tenure at the helm of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority has endeared him to captains of industry and one would wish his Officials emulate him. Some of his Officials leave a lot to be desired as they work at their own pace thereby frustrating investors by their casual approach. Investors are viewed as economic saboteurs instead of being embraced with open arms. There is too much red-tap and export permits take as long as four months to be approved and the Minister is accordingly requested to ensure that his Officials facilitate trade rather than stifle efforts of potential investors through their work as usual approach.

Chief Charumbira - 25 September 2014

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