Zimbabwe: 'Exclusive Prospecting Orders Must Be Banned'

9 December 2019

Zanu — PF deputy secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Lewis Matutu has urged the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to introduce a law banning the issuance of Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs).

This comes after President Mnangagwa told delegates at a Zanu-PF Youth Convention recently that EPOs were not serving any tangible purpose.

"I want to talk about the issue of mining. This EPO thing was brought by the whites. It's called the Exclusive Prospecting Order. It's now up to me and the minister to decide if we still need it. If it's not serving any purpose it has to go. On the Chegutu issue, I want things that are done properly," said President Mnangagwa.

EPOs give mining companies express rights to search for minerals and peg claims in designated areas but there has been concern that some firms are not scouting for minerals and are only holding EPOs for speculative purposes.

Cases have been reported of companies selling their claims for millions of dollars without first setting up mines. Cde Matutu said Government must instead, fund prospecting for minerals.

"The ministry of Mines and Mining development must quickly introduce a law to ban the issuance of Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs). Small-scale miners must be protected from greed and corrupt few individuals and government must fund prospecting for minerals," he said.

Cde Matutu highlighted that the ministry must protect small-scale miners from corrupt individuals through promoting ownership by small players.

He echoed President Mnangagwa's sentiments that EPOs were ushered in to benefit the white minority.

"A few individuals acquire EPOs and then sell mining blocks to small scale miners.

"The ministry must promote ownership by indigenous small players to protect them from exploitation," he said.

"EPOs were established to benefit the white minority as such the law must be abolished."

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