By Shame Makoshori
The Ministry of Mines says investors seeking to start mining operations worth at least $100 million can apply for special mining leases (SML).
Under the SML, investors can individually negotiate incentives with government, including royalties and other statutory obligations, and are allowed to carry on investments without changes to their agreement with government for the duration of the lease.
The release of SMLs is part of efforts by government to drive investment into a number of minerals, including at least 35, which are not being exploited by current investors.
Government says out of 40 known minerals in Zimbabwe, five are being exploited, accounting for 96 percent of about $2,6 billion in revenue generated from the sector last year.
Gold, platinum, chrome, diamonds and coal are the major minerals currently being mined in Zimbabwe.
Addressing investors at the Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference last week, Mines Minister, Winston Chitando, said after issuing about 30 exclusive prospecting orders since November, the ministry was also promoting investments through SMLs.
He said several key minerals, such as copper and nickel, which are doing well on the international minerals markets, were not getting investments.
“Zimbabwe has 30 known copper occurrences, but there is no active copper mine,” Chitando said.
“Zimbabwe has 70 nickel occurrences. So there is room for investment. For those looking at investing over $100 million you can negotiate for a special mining lease. Once you negotiate for the special mining lease, you are not subjected to changes to the agreement for the duration of the mining lease, which is 25 years. You can negotiate for royalties,” the Minister added.
The country has huge copper resources, but since the closure of Mhangura Copper Mines at the turn of the century, there has been no investment into the industry.
Nickel has been discovered in a number of areas, but only Bindura Nickel Corporation is mining the mineral.
Vice President Constantine Chiwenga told the conference that investment would be secure, and that investors must not be worried by uncertainties caused by upcoming elections in the country.
“There is no need to worry about uncertainties due to the coming elections,” he said.
“This must not worry you or affect your investment decisions,” said Chiwenga.
He said government would be working on combating corruption and making sure the investment climate was good.