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LocalNews

Government to repossess idle mines

By Business Reporter – Thursday 12 December 2019

HARARE (Mining Index) – GOVERNMENT is set to re-claim redundant mines that have been idle for years and reallocate them to local Zimbabweans to ensure the mining sector achieves the US$12 billion mining target by 2023.

In an interview, ZANU PF National Political Commissar Victor Matemadanda said most inactive mines are mostly foreign-owned, allegedly being held for speculative purposes.

Such mines are either on care and maintenance, closed, facing financial viability or under subjudice. These include Shamva, Redwing, Mazowe, Athens, Buchwa, River Ranch and Shabanie Mashaba Mines to name a few.

Various spheres have called for laws to ban Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) arguing that some firms are not scouting for minerals but merely hoarding claims for profiteering.

“Some mines are being held for purposes of speculation. My knowledge is that government is going to take those and redistribute to people who want to use them productively,”

“Almost all the mining land in Zimbabwe has got some documentation indicating that so and so owned and has some intention to do mining on them. We cannot continually respect those when we know that these are being held for the purposes of speculation. We want our people to be productive and empowered by our resources.”

“In fact, we are able to bust these sanctions if we become productive. But the same people who are putting sanctions on us are the same people who are holding onto our mines. So to answer your question, government is going to take those,” said Matemadanda.

Zanu-PF Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs, Lewis Matutu has also been vocal on EPOs advocating for enactment of laws banning them.

He added that the principle of ‘use it or lose it’ must be practical for it to be effective.

In presenting the 2020 national budget, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube said enforcement of the “use it or lose it” principle is aimed at preventing speculative hoarding of claims across all minerals.

“We have taken a position and the Ministry of Mines is very much aware of our position to say that the “use it or lose it” principle can only work provided they implement it. It must never be on paper but practical,” said Matutu.

“We have heard our young people who are into small scale mining complaining about the issue. The issue of non performing mines or disused mines takes us to prospective orders which have been issued to people probably 10 – 15 years ago. They have vast pieces of land and mining land which they are not using but they are just paying royalties in quarterly or yearly depending on the position of the ministry. All those things must be put to use,”

“Some owners of disused mined are in South Africa and those mines have been there for 10 or so years. They must be utilised by young people. They must be utilised for the benefit of our country. We have no apology and we have made ourselves clear to the ministry,” said Matutu.

He cited Jumbo mine in Mazowe saying despite the presence of law enforcement agents, illegal mining continue to take place due to corruption emanating through bribery.

He said the majority of people contributing to the mining sector in terms of gold deliveries are young artisanal and small scale miners conducting illegal mining.

Illegal gold miners have become rampant in Zimbabwe, with thousands of unemployed men, women and children turning to illegal gold panning in a bid to put food on the table.

In February this year, 38 artisanal miners, most of them who were in their youth were trapped following heavy flooding at a makeshift mine in Battlefields and Muzvezve near Kadoma. ENDS//

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