HomeNewsZimbabwe says reviewing mine fees after industry uproar

Zimbabwe says reviewing mine fees after industry uproar


HARARE- Zimbabwe is looking into complaints by the mining industry that steep hikes in its fees and taxes will seriously hurt miners by taking 60 percent of every dollar they earn, an official said.

“The ministry is presently reviewing the impact of these fees on the mining sector,” Prince Mupazviriho, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines, told a mining conference in Harare on Wednesday.

He offered no details on whether the ministry might reduce the fees.

The southern African country hiked pre-exploration fees for most minerals by as much as 8,000 percent in January. Registration charges for platinum and diamond claims rose to $2.5 million and $5 million, respectively, in a move it said was meant to curb the speculative holding of mine titles.

Miners also must now pay annual ground rentals ranging from $500 per hectare for chrome to $3,000 per hectare for diamonds.

President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party also is forcing foreign mining companies to hand over majority stakes to Zimbabweans, which analysts say is a way to bolster the party’s coffers ahead of an election expected next year.

In February the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines told a parliamentary committee hearing that fees and royalty increases of 7.5 percent for gold and 10 percent for platinum announced in the 2012 budget would hit miners who have yet to fully recover from a decade-long economic crisis.

“It’s estimated that 60 percent of every dollar earned in revenue goes to the government, making Zimbabwe one of the most expensive countries to mine,” the chamber’s vice president, Allan Mashingaidze, told the committee.

Zimbabwe’s mining industry has overtaken the troubled agriculture sector as the main foreign exchange earner, contributing $2.6 billion to its $4.4 billion total export earnings in 2011.-Reuters

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