Zimbabwe: Government Repossess Idle Mining Concessions

MUTARE- The Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development says it has started effecting Phase one under a program to repossess idle and underserviced mining claims, under the use it or lose it principle.

Addressing stakeholders to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mineral Development stakeholders review of legislation and policies governing the mining industry, Minister Winston Chitando said more claims will be repossessed.

He acknowledged the Ministry’s oversight and failure to repossess under-serviced mining titles as well as claims which have been lying idles saying the processes which is under phase one will be concluded in October.

The areas covered in the exercise total 21000 hectares of land translating to a total of 213 concessions, with 147 having been processed for repossession. Chitando says government will also target larger mining titles.

“We do have in total 213 concessions which are being processed for use or lose it at this stage 147 are at the highest stage of processing, they are all medium, for large scale the remainder being processed by end of October. That is the phase one of the use it or lose it principle, we will also target larger segments.

“A full statement will, be released in September on areas that will be repossessed and how they will be redistributed to beneficiaries. We have started with what we see as a low hanging fruit and high impact,” said Chitando.

On its oversight role on the mining industry, Chitando made an admission that there have been oversights from the Ministry, which has fails to monitor the industry and ensure full utilization of mining claims.

He said so far the Ministry has rationalized the acquisition of mining titles in at least 49 of the areas through the country, to ensure for a smooth distribution exercise.

“We have not been adequately executing our role as a ministry because we had allowed some mining claims that were not service not being repossessed, we have undertaken to repossess all mining title which was overdue in annual fees, a total of 21 000 hectares were covered under this exercises.

“Took opportunity to optimize and undertake a consolidation process following that forfeiture, we placed a reservation on 49 areas throughout the country to ensure that whoever comes to acquire that title is not in a disjointed manner,” said Chitando.

On the ownership of the idle and underserviced mining titles- which critics claim are held by the politically connected, Chitando said government will make an announcement in September, as they move to enforce the use it or lose it principle.

He said government used extensive mapping and technical knowledge to assess the forfeited assets which will also be redistributed.

“In terms of the resource ownership of the company, we do have resources which are majority held in private hands, we also have concessions held by government through various companies.

“Using technical knowledge of the place which were forfeited which together with assets that were affected will be covered in the September announcement and how they are going to be distributed,” said Chitando.

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