By Mining Reporter – Tuesday 3 December 2019
HARARE (Mining Index) – A CHINESE investor has allegedly hoarded more than 145 gold claims for speculative purposes, selling them to the highest bidder for a profit, Mining Index has learnt.
According to a reliable source that preferred anonymity, the Chinese investor only identified as Mr Lee has accumulated gold claims in the Midlands province, raising suspicion that he is working in cohorts with high-ranking ministry officials.
Sadly, the law allows anyone to apply and hold multiple mining claims for varying minerals.
A general enquiry made at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Bindura office in Mashonaland Central regarding application for a gold claim revealed that the ministry has a yawning application backlog dating back to 2017, yet the investor from the east continues to hoard claims.
This comes at a time when government has announced plans to ruthlessly enforce the “use it or lose it” principle to prevent speculative hoarding of claims across all minerals. In his 2020 budget speech, finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the intervention would boost productivity and transparency in the mining sector.
Chinese have slowly filtered in and quietly taken over the mining sector in Zimbabwe, leaving the local citizens struggling to get mining claims.
The Chinese have penetrated in all lucrative areas including gold, coal, diamonds, black granite, quarry and gas, with indications that some are already scouting on ways to get Rare Earths Mineral concessions in Zimbabwe.
Last year, Mutoko was granted a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status, which saw a Chinese firm, Surewin Investments mandated to mine, cut, polish, and set up a production factory for tiles and related granite products.
In December 2018, three Chinese firms, Tutu Investments, Zimbabwe Zinghxon Coking Company (ZZCC) and South Mining were in the process of setting up coke-processing and solar power plants in Hwange. ZZCC and South Mining have coking plants in Lukosi and Madumabisa, while Tutu Investment is reportedly linked to coke processor, Hwange Coal Gasification Company.
In 2015, five companies were involved in the exploration for CBM in Zimbabwe. Shangani Energy Exploration, a subsidiary of Zimasco is a partnership with the Chinese. China-Africa Sunlight Energy, a partnership between the military and the Chinese. Afpenn Lupane Developments, Terra Firma, and Discovery Investments were the other three companies also involved.
Government in May 2018 signed a US$1 billion Coal bed methane deal with Sinosteel Corp in which the Chinese firm was expected to drill two Coal Bed Methane (CBM) wells at Shangani in the first phase while more productive wells will be drilled and a 400 MW plant set up in the second phase.
In 2016, the Chinese were part of the seven companies mining diamonds at Chiadzwa whose licences were revoked by government, and Anjin Investments slipped back into the Marange Diamond Fields after government approved only companies to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe.
In April this year, Tsingchan Holding Group inked a US$2 billion deal that will see the firm mine chrome, iron ore, nickel, and coal across Zimbabwe.
Again in April this year, another Chinese firm, Jianye Huew was granted rights to mine quarry at Garimo Hill in Dombashava where they threatened to evict 20 000 villagers for excavation to take place.
Chinese-owned mining companies offer employment to Zimbabweans, the reverse which must be the case. Local Zimbabweans must be empowered to get the first right of refusal for mining claims. ENDS//