Zimplats saga, Mpofu clears air

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Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu yesterday declared no mining licence had been withdrawn, but said government was engaging with stakeholders on the indigenisation and empowerment regulations.

Addressing delegates at the ongoing mining indaba, Mpofu said the indaba came at a time when mineral output and sales were on an upward trend and expected to remain so in the medium outlook.

He said this was as a result of enabling economic policies put in place by government and rising mineral prices on the international market.

“No mining licence has been withdrawn by government,” the minister said. “It is not the intention of government to withdraw licences.
“My colleague in the Indigenisation Ministry has no intention of cancelling licences. There are some negotiations taking place with some parties,” Mpofu said.

Mpofu’s statement comes a week after Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere said mining companies that had failed to comply with the indigenisation law would lose their licences.

Speaking at the same event, Kasukuwere said in the past weeks he had running battles with the mining industry but had since registered tremendous progress.

“It’s time for us to agree. It takes two to tango. We have an inclusive government that has been working very well. We should do the same in the mining sector,” Kasukuwere said. He said the nation wanted a fair reward just as the investors did.

“Zimplats is a major mine and we have made good progress. We are open to investment, but let’s follow the law,” he said.

“The Indigenisation Act is not a Kasukuwere Act. Go and read it.

Mpofu said the country was making amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act and ensuring there was compliance with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

Mpofu said: “It is important to emphasise the need to achieve a balance regarding issues relating to industrial growth, attracting investment vis-à-vis indigenisation aspirations.

“We are therefore finalising our work on the Mines and Minerals Act amendments to minimise ambiguities.”