Government of Zimbabwe proposes to amend the Mining Legislation in several respects. Major features of the proposed changes include
Unique conditions may be provided for in the law to attach to exploration, ownership, exploitation, beneficiation, marketing and development of minerals declared or designated to be strategic. The Minister, in consultation with the Mining Affairs Board and subject to approval of the President may declare a mineral to be strategic or may remove a mineral from the list of strategic minerals.
In terms of the bill, it is proposed to make the following minerals strategic:
natural gas or coal bed methane
platinum group metals
rare earths elements (“Ree”)
The unique conditions, which are meant to be part of the Minerals Act, do not appear to have been put
in place yet.
It is proposed to establish a Cadastre System under which:
- there shall be a manual or electronic management and recording of processes that create
mining rights and titles;
mining titles, recorded under the system, shall be an exclusive prospecting licences; or an exclusive exploration licences; or special grants for exploration.
Mining rights recorded under the system shall be:
- certificates of registration of blocks of precious metal claims; or
certificate of registration of blocks of precious stones claims; or
certificate of registration of blocks of base mineral claims; or
certificate of registration of sites;
special mining leases; or
mining leases; or
special grants for mining.
The Secretary for Mines shall be the Cadastre Registrar. The Cadastre Registrar shall have a central mining cadastre office with exclusive jurisdiction over the whole country. The head office shall be in Harare.
Any person, upon payment of a fee to be prescribed shall be entitled to inspect the Cadastre Register at any reasonable time.
The following information is expected to be found in the register:
- the name of every holder of a mining right or title or limitation of a mining right or title; and
a chronological record of dates and time of lodging of applications for mining rights or titles; and
the contact details of every applicant including physical and postal address, telephone numbers, email address and fax number; and
the receipt numbers of prescribed fees paid and the amounts paid;
the nature of every application; and
the date of approval or rejection of an application; and
relevant or each mining right or title or limitation of a mining
right or title; and
of any renewal, cancellation or suspension of the registration of each
mining right or title or of any forfeiture, relinquishment or abandonment of a
mining right or title; and
the location and coordinates of any mining right or title; and
such other as the Cadastre Registrar may consider necessary.
A holder of four or more contiguous blocks shall be required to lodge, free of charge, an application with the Cadastre Registrar for a mining lease in respect of that location.
The mining affairs board shall consider the application and the lease shall be issued by the Cadastre Registrar.
A mining lease will confer exclusive right of mining any ore or deposit of the mineral authorised and any ore or deposit of any other mineral, except energy minerals, precious stones and declared strategic minerals, which may be discovered within the mining lease.
Appeals from the mining affairs board shall go to the Minister and appeals against the Minister’s decisions go to the Administrative Court.
It is intended that the right of a miner to private water on state land be subject to the provisions of the Water Act (Chapter 20:24).
It is proposed to provide for ministerial protection certificates against forfeiture for specified periods of time.
In respect of environmental matters, it is proposed that the Minister retains exclusive and original jurisdiction on mining in Zimbabwe and that the Cadastre Registrar requires environmental impact assessments to be carried out and submitted before any mining right or title is issued.
A radical change in favour of environmental protection is the imposition of liability on directors because of a new section which is proposed to read as follows:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of the Companies Act (Chapter 24:03), the directors of a company or
members of a close corporation or syndicate are jointly and severally liable
for any unacceptable negative impact on the environment, including damage,
degradation or pollution advertently or inadvertently caused by the company or
close corporation or syndicate which they represent or are represented.”
A safety health and rehabilitation fund is proposed to be established and every miner shall make an annual contribution to the Safety Health and Rehabilitation Fund at the rate prescribed by the Minister from time to time. In prescribing the fees, the Minister shall differentiate the applicable fees for small scale miners and large scale miners.
Rights to explore and mine coal, mineral oils or natural gases may only be acquired under special grants which shall be issued in two phases namely, exploration stage and mining stage.
It is proposed to prohibit export of raw or unprocessed minerals except with the written consent of the Minister. Beneficiation outside Zimbabwe of any mineral mined in Zimbabwe shall require written approval from the Minister.
The Minister shall determine incentives for beneficiation.
Riverbed mining shall be allowed only in partnership with the government.
It is proposed to localise the shareholding of corporates holders of
mining rights or titles. However, the localisation will:
- apply to public companies only which shall be required to list on a securities exchange in Zimbabwe. Where a company requires to acquire Zimbabwean mining rights or titles and is listed on a foreign securities exchange, it shall be required to notify the Minister of such listing and 85% of the funds raised from such listing shall be used solely for mining development in Zimbabwe
relating to the mining rights and title in question.
it will be limited to those that require mining titles or rights and not those that are already holders of such rights.
It is proposed to compel every holder of mining rights or titles in Zimbabwe to utilise financial institutions registered in Zimbabwe.
All changes in the shareholding of mining companies will require to be notified to the Minister in writing within 14 days of the change and no shareholder of a company holding mining rights or titles shall sell or transfer a Zimbabwean registered security to a non-indigenous person without the written approval of the Minister. Any sale conducted without such approval shall be null and void.