Harare, Zimbabwe — 06 March 2013 – The government of Zimbabwe may soon revoke coal mining licences being held by more than 30 local firms for suspected speculative purposes at the expense of genuine international investors.
Revealing this here, mines and mining development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire told international media that the speculative holding of mining special grants was discouraging foreign investment inflows. “The delinquent companies have been summoned to the ministry, starting next week to explain the exploration work they have carried out,” reports allAfrica.com, quoting “The Herald” daily newspaper.
“If we don’t get any satisfactory answers we won’t hesitate to withdraw those licences,” Chimanikire warned. “Most of these people are holding onto these grants for speculative purposes.”
Zimbabwe has over 40 different mineral occurrences and holds the world’s second-largest deposits of platinum and ferrochrome, after South Africa. It also has gold, diamonds, nickel, copper and coal.
The country obtains most of its 1 200 megawatts (MW) of power from hydropower and coal-fired generation, versus a demand of 2 100MW, according to power utility Zesa Holdings.
“If we had more people using their grants, we would not have this problem of electricity shortages,” he said.
The minister added that some licencees had asked foreign investors for “other things and favours, resulting in the investors moving on to other countries where they are not asked to pay for extras or favours.”
Mines and mining development minister Obert Mpofu recently said government would repossess all undeveloped mineral claims and parcel them out to other potential investors. The exercise would cut across the entire mining sector.
Government has already repossessed about 27 948 hectares of excess land held by the country’s biggest platinum miner, Zimplats.
Minister Mpofu said government’s actions were based on the need to ensure that the mining sector’s contribution fell in line with growth targets espoused in its five-year economic blueprint, the Medium Term Plan.
Mining is now at the core of the country’s economic growth, followed by tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. But the sector has not contributed as much as government thought it would over the years.
Source: allAfrica.com. For more information, click here.