Harare - The Zimbabwean government has with immediate effect
repossessed excess ground from Zimplats measuring 27 948 hectares, Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu has said.
At a press conference held yesterday, Mpofu said as the sole
regulator and promoter of the mining industry in terms of the Mines and
Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05), the ministry is focusing on the creation of real
opportunities and investment space by making more land available for new
investments, attracting new players into the industry and acting on excess and
Mpofu said this will be made possible through reviewing all
mining rights deemed to be in excess.
Zimplats was granted a Special Mining Lease in 1994 covering
25 years, but geological information indicates that the total ground granted
and the mineral endowment therein has a lifespan far exceeding the prescribed
period, which period is in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act.
Mpofu argued Zimplats occupies two thirds of the Great Dyke
and could only finish exploiting the platinum deposits in 300 years.
“If we give all that away to one person then that person is
Zimbabwe,” he said.
“They are currently using one twentieth of their claims.”
He said this was in line with the cancellation of EPOs that
the ministry is currently undertaking as a way of stopping speculative
“This is one move among other strategies expected to
invigorate the mining industry to achieve its envisaged targets of creating
employment, achieving increased mineral output and increased revenue injections.”
He said the ministry will exercise its prerogative to ensure
that all idle ground is repossessed and re-allocated to other investors.
The exercise will spread to all sectors and sub-sectors
within the mining industry to encourage expected high levels of mineral
The development, observers say, is an indication of policy
inconsistency and bad governance-a major reason deterring foreign investment
Mpofu said the ministry had designed practical measures
aimed at enhancing value addition locally and bringing closure to the continued
export of semi-processed platinum products.
“For some time, the country has not realised significant
value from the platinum sector beyond the traditional statutory payments. Consequently the
ministry has decided that beyond two years, it will stop processing exports for
semi-processed platinum products.”