MINES minister Walter Chidakwa has revealed that government will soon implement a policy to repossess mining concessions which were not being utilised amid concerns that some investors were holding onto idle concessions for speculative purposes.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
A concession agreement is a contractual right to carry on a certain kind of business or activity in an area, such as to explore or develop its natural resources or to operate a “concession stand” within a venue.
Chidakwa told delegates at the 2015 Buy Zimbabwe Summit in Victoria Falls on Thursday that the government would be taking measures to ensure that mining companies were compelled to do exploration in order to mine.
“The government will implement a policy very soon that those who hold concessions without doing anything can be assured that we will take them back,” Chidakwa said.
He said mining without carrying out exploration was tantamount to looting.
“It is government’s plan to ensure we do that and we will be taking measures. This, I can assure you, we will be taking measures to ensure companies do what is right. To mine without doing proper exploration is to loot because you did not say ‘this is what I have and this is what is due to me and this is what is due to Zimbabwe’.
“It is also a disaster because it gives you latitude to hold land that you are not using and you keep saying ‘I need 500 000 hectares’, but you have not told us what is on the 500 000 hectares of land,” he said.
Chidakwa said the government would not backtrack on its value-addition and beneficiation thrust, adding chrome smelters were only allowed to export 30 million tonnes of chrome ore.
He added that the consolidation of diamond mining companies was still being pursued although there was resistance from other quarters.
“Why are we doing this? I want to confess to you, if there is an area which is difficult to manage, it’s diamonds. I am at peace with gold, but diamonds are difficult,” he said.
“Our plan is to consolidate, have one company. That company will have all the seven companies inside and we will share 50%-50% as we currently are. So the government will continue to hold 50% in the big company and the other 50 % will be shared between all the companies.
“We believe that when we have consolidated, we have better capacity to manage, better capacity to develop and to do research and develop.”