Govt gazettes new mining bill

HARARE - Zimbabwe has transformed the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) into a fully-fledged mineral exploration corporation as part of strategies to facilitate the growth of the mining industry.

This comes after government last week gazetted the Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill, which repealed and replaced the MMCZ Act (Chapter 21:04).

The new law will result in the establishment of a Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation — a company mandated to undertake prospecting and explorations as well as marketing and selling of all minerals in the country.

Industry experts say the new Act will expedite growth of the mining sector by determining the value of the country’s mineral wealth.

The mining sector is expected to rebound next year, growing by 2,4 percent, on the back of planned investments, and largely driven by strong performance of gold, chrome, coal, nickel, platinum and diamonds.

“We also anticipate that the MMCZ transformation exercise will enable the government to stamp authority on alleged mineral leakages and avoid loopholes allegedly being used by some mining companies in evading the declaration of export receipts,” said a mining geology expert from the Zimbabwe School of Mines.

Since January last year, the government has been mobilising financial resources to revive the exploration of minerals after realising that the failure to determine the value of  resource commodities was prejudicing the State of millions of dollars.

Zimbabwe is estimated to have over 4 000 known gold deposits and a vast array of other minerals such as platinum and iron ore while Chiadzwa diamonds are said to have the potential to supply 25 percent of the world’s diamond market, but experts say the country remains largely unexplored.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his 2016 National Budget statement said further mineral exploration has potential to unearth more information on our mineral resources endowment, as this will attract additional foreign investment into the mining sector.

“Other opportunities include job creation, development of new infrastructure, such as roads and electricity power supplies, and increased tax revenues that, in turn, can be invested in social priorities,” he said.

“Therefore, in order to unlock this potential, the Geological Survey Department in the ministry of Mines and Mineral Development will be capacitated with the necessary equipment and technology to enable it to carry out enhanced exploration activities,” Chinamasa added.

The Finance minister noted in order to encourage investment in prospecting and exploration activities and also enhance the viability of mining, a further review of selected mining fees and charges will be undertaken in consultation with the Mines ministry by the first quarter of 2016.

Currently, mining companies also face additional fees and charges to other government agencies that include the Environmental Management Agency, the Radiation Protection Authority, as well as the Rural District Councils.

Chinamasa, however, said such fees and charges would be rationalised in the context of the proposed new mining fiscal regime.

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