New Act to resolve mining disputes

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THE Mines and Minerals Act, which is set to be amended by Parliament soon, will resolve mining disputes between farmers and miners, an official has said.

VENERANDA LANGA

Acting Mashonaland East provincial mining director, Frank Muzanenhamo told war veterans at a Centre for Applied Legal Research workshop in Kariba last week that the new Mines Act would also deal with companies with vast mining claims that were failing to utilise them.

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He said this in response to allegations by war veterans that people with mining leases were pouncing on their farms.

War veterans also questioned the rationale for a few companies owning all mining claims in the Great Dyke, and yet they were under-utilising them.

Zimasco and ZimAlloys reportedly own 80% of chrome mining claims in the Great Dyke, which they registered in 1904 when the companies were under Union Carbide, an American conglomerate.

“Government will adopt a ‘take it or use it’ stance and I hope this time around the Mines and Minerals Act will not fall in terms of it being brought before Parliament for amendment,” Muzanenhamo said.

“In 2007, a draft of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill was approved, but it expired before going to Parliament, and in the draft it was identified that there were individuals or companies holding on to large tracts of land with special mining leases of over 35 years without utilising them such as Zimasco and
ZimAlloys.”

He said there were many disputes between farmers and miners, but added some were being resolved by the Ministry of Lands and others by the Mines ministry.

“Some mining claims were pegged a long time ago and new farmers cannot be allowed on that land. It is also possible for farmers and miners to co-exist. A person can also peg a mining claim on someone’s farm, but they need to notify the farmer of their intention to register a mining claim on their farm,” Muzanenhamo said.

He said the Mines Ministry was working on a mining cadastre system to ensure mining would be digitalised in order to avoid double pegging of land.