14 February 2013

Zimbabwe: 'Need to Amend Mining Laws'

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara yesterday said there was a need to amend the mining laws, among other things, if Zimbabweans were to benefit from its numerous resources.

DPM Mutambara said the Mines and Minerals Act was criminal because it works against the interests of the people. He said this in the House of Assembly while responding to a question by Zengeza West Mr Collin Gwiyo on what Government was doing to curb outflows of minerals.

"The problem with us Africans and Zimbabweans is that when we achieved independence we were quick to change political laws but did not touch on the economic laws," said DPM Mutambara.

"You go to Ghana, South Africa, their laws on oil, gold are still colonial laws. Our laws in the country are acting against our interests. The Mines and Minerals Act is criminal and unless we change we will continue to get the crumbs," he said.

DPM Mutambara said foreign investors were getting claims for free in Zimbabwe and use them to fundraise abroad.

"There is a need to change our laws so that we put value to our minerals underground. The Essar deal was done within the laws of the country and our laws allow that we get the crumbs," he said.

The deputy prime minister said it was also important that officials involved in negotiations be capacitated as many of them lacked negotiating skills.

"The other issue is that of ignorance and lack of capacity among Zimbabweans. When you negotiate with Essar, Zimplats, they bring their lawyers and other consultants yet we only bring one official," he said.

DPM Mutambara added that some Government officials were also involved in corruption that has resulted in foreigners gettting lucrative mining claims for very little.

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