GOVERNMENT is planning an overhaul of the Mines and Minerals Act to come up as it seeks to spur growth and investment in the country’s main economic pillar.
The mining legislation had in the past few years been undergoing amendments since 2007 following the passing of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Draft Bill, but did not make it past Cabinet.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Mr Gift Chimanikire said the Cabinet Committee on Legislation called for a new Act to avoid too many amendments to the current legislation.
“Following the discovery of diamonds in Marange, there was need to draft a Diamond Act and there was need to make amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act to accommodate this,” the deputy minister said.
“But the Cabinet Committee on Legislation made a decision that there was need for an overhaul of the Act (incorporating the diamond legislation) rather than more amendments to the Minerals Act,” he said.
The Mines and Minerals Act, enacted in the 1960s, has been amended many times, but has remained in place despite the passage of time and dynamics thereof, which made certain aspects outdated.
Government had been working on amending the Mines and Minerals Act, which was already before Cabinet last year, but consultations are set to begin to draft completely new mine and minerals legislation.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu recently intimated that the Government had resolved to repeal the current legislation, but would not give specific timelines.
However, he indicated that Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development would follow the normal procedure undertaken in the process of crafting new legislation.
Addressing the 73rd annual general meeting of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe last year, Dr Mpofu said that the process of finalising the amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act were at an advanced stage. He had expressed hope the draft would get Cabinet approval by June 2012.
But by June last year the legislation had not been approved owing to the need for wider and comprehensive stakeholder consultations to ensure an all inclusive and better legislation for the sector.
Dr Mpofu said then that the amendments to the law would provide for an improved and competitive mining legislation framework, which offers a user-friendly operating environment to investors.
He said the amended Act would guarantee increased capacity in mineral production, continuous exploration, beneficiation and value addition of our minerals and also enforce the “use it or lose it” principle.
The formulation of the Zimbabwe Diamond Policy was said to be progressing well.
The Act would facilitate optimisation of the exploitation of diamonds throughout the value chain, security and accountability of diamonds for full realisation of the potential of the diamond industry.
Mining has grown over the past four years to become the country’s fulcrum of economic growth and now accounts for more than 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s export earnings. – The Herald