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Lovemore Zigara, Midlands Correspondent
THE Government says it will return exhausted and inaccessible chrome claims which were surrendered to it by ferrochrome producer, Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco).
Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Jason Machaya, said 80 percent of chrome claims ceded to Government by the chrome smelting company in the province were either exhausted, exploited or inaccessible while they kept those that are rich and unexploited.
Zimasco, which had 49 000 hectares (ha) of chrome claims, ceded 22 700 ha to Government following a directive by the Mines and Mining Development Ministry to enable a wider inclusion of locals in the sector.
“For mining claims that have been 100 percent condemned we are going to refer them back to the Ministry (of Mines and Mining Development) so that the ministry will then engage Zimasco,” he said.
“Where we are saying we are not comfortable with these claims which are not accessible or have been completely been worked out, we will return them to Zimasco.”
Minister Machaya said of the 305 claims in the Midlands, about 80 percent had been worked on while 20 percent had been exhausted.
Zimasco and Zimbabwe Alloys prior to the release of ground to Government owned 80 percent of the country’s chrome reserves. The country is sitting on over one billion tonnes reserves of the mineral.
Zimasco general manager marketing and administration, Ms Clara Sadomba, said the claims that were surrendered to Government were a mixture of those that had been mined, explored and surveyed.
“We treat all our claims the same. The claims that we ceded to Government were a cross section of claims including that on which we did underground mining, some open cast – claims are used differently.
On some of the claims we just did mineral exploration,” she said.