3 May 2012

Zimbabwe: Chamber of Mines Engages Govt On Fees

THE Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe has submitted recommendations to Government for a review of the new mining fees.

Government recently reviewed mining fees by about 5 000 percent to between US$3 000 and US$5 million. Chamber of Mines

president Mr Winston Chitando yesterday told journalists at a briefing that the chamber has been engaging Government in an effort to have the fees lowered.

"We have submitted recommendations and our views to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for consideration," said Mr Chitando, refusing to elaborate on nature of the recommendations.

The Government is expected to respond soon to the chamber's concerns, as urgency underlined the recommendations.

According to Statutory Instrument 11 of 2012, registration of diamond claims was increased from US$1 million to US$5 million with a new ground rental fee of US$3 000 per hectare per year.

Application fees for prospective coal investors were increased from US$5 000 to US$100 000, while registration or renewal fees are now pegged at US$500 000.

In addition, there is now a new ground rental fee of US$100 per hectare. Ordinary and special platinum prospectors will pay US$500 000 from the previous US$200.

There has also been a raft of increases in licences for dealers across the mining sector.

Mr Chitando said the fees would be discussed at the chamber's annual general meeting and conference to be held in Victoria Falls next week.

This year's conference will run under the theme, "Powering the mining industry for growth and development".

At end of the conference, the chamber is expected to come up with a position paper advising the Government on specific policy areas affecting the sector and the economy.

Mr Chitando said the chamber was in discussions with Zesa Holdings on electricity supply and was hoping to come up with a framework for the development of mining.

Erratic power supplies have continued to affect production in the mining sector, threatening a growth projection of 15,5 percent.

The chamber has in the past managed to advance funding to Zesa to finance power imports from Mozambique.

Government is under pressure from small-scale miners to review the mining fees downwards. They say the new thresholds would stifle the participation of indigenous people who do not have the capacity to raise the required fees.

The Zimbabwe Miners' Federation has also urged Government to review the exorbitant fees.

But Government says the increases have been introduced to curb speculative activities in the sector.

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