MINERS have expressed excitement after the Government granted a total of 25 Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs), which are expected to unlock new opportunities for the sector.
The issuance of EPOs is critical in allowing international mineral explorers to scan through the country’s belly in search of minerals and producing bankable exploration results that can attract investment in line with the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
This comes on the back of concerns that some unscrupulous individuals were clandestinely pegging and selling mineral rich claims while trying in vain to scuttle the granting of EPOs.
Under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, has outlined the need to extensively explore and quantify mineral deposits as one of its top priorities in a bid to attract capital into the country’s mining sector.
Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando, through the Mining Affairs Board, last week issued a Government Gazette General notice 328 of 2021 where 25 EPOs, including Premier African Mineral Resources’ Zulu Lithium project in Matabeleland South province, were granted.
The EPOs, which are all for a period of three years up to 2023, were issued in terms of Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05).
“It is hereby notified in that the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, with authorisation from the President, has, in terms of section 90 (2) of the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05), issued Exclusive Prospecting Order No. 1779 to Zulu Lithium (Private) Limited, for a period of three years with effect from 12th March 2021 to 11th March, 2024, inclusive,” reads part of the Government Gazette.
Premier African Minerals has expressed gratitude over the granting of the EPO.
“The company is pleased to announce the formal grant of an EPO No. 1779 over an area that encompasses the Zulu Lithium and Tantalum claims (“Zulu”) in the Fort Rixon district of Zimbabwe for a period of three years with effect from 12 March 2021 to 11 March 2024.
“Details of the grant of the EPO are contained in the Zimbabwe Government Gazette published today (March 12, 2021).”
The mining group’s chief executive officer Mr George Roach said he was deeply appreciative of the Government for the granting of the substantial EPO adding that his organisation will reciprocate with mobilisation for the commencement of the Definitive Feasibility Study on the Zulu deposit, which has an estimated completion time of 14 months.
“It is important that there are further known lithium bearing pegmatites offering upside to Zulu as well as historic small gold mines, potential molybdenite and many scheelite (a tungsten mineral) occurrences within the area,” the firm said.
Premier said the granting of the EPO reaffirms the Government’s policy that Zimbabwe is open for business and further supports the Ministry of Mines policy of creating a US$12 billion mining economy by 2023.
“Premier expects to provide details in regard to further developments associated with Zulu and full details of the terms and conditions associated with the grant of the EPO in the near future,” it said.
In an interview, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive Mr Wellington Takavarasha expressed gratitude over the latest development.
“As a federation, we had actually requested the EPO holders to release some of the land that is not suitable for their commercial activities, but that could not be granted because the EPO holders were not yet issued with licences.
“So, out of the 25 issued licences, the small-scale miners within those particular areas can actually consult the EPO holders to get a small space to undertake operations,” he said. Chronicle