‘Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill anomaly should be corrected’

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Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine has increased its monthly production output, with ore processing now reaching 20 000 tonnes a month

HARARE residents on Saturday expressed concern over failure by the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill to include gold and diamonds among the 19 strategic minerals critical for the turnaround of the economy.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Speaking during a public hearing conducted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and energy, which was sponsored by the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, the residents said the anomaly should be corrected before the Bill was passed into law.

Amendments in section five of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill 2016 identify 19 strategic minerals that were said to be strategic to the economy.

These include coking coal, natural gas or coal-bed methane, iron ore, uranium, chrome, platinum group metals, phosphate ore, beryllium, lithium and tin tantalite, rare earths elements, natural graphite, magnesite, tungsten, antimony, manganese, fluorspar and caesium.

Zimbabwe Small-Scale Miners Federation chief executive officer, Wellington Takavarasha, said it was disappointing that diamonds were not on the key minerals’ list.

“The world over diamonds are listed as strategic minerals, but they have not been listed as part of the 19 in the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill,” Takavarasha queried, adding there should be reconsideration to add gold and diamonds as strategic minerals.

The Bill, in section 52 also proposes amendments highlighting that no mineral, including industrial scrap shall be exported in their raw form, unless consent was given by the Mines minister, adding the minister has to prescribe incentives to promote beneficiation. But, Centre of Natural Resource Governance’s Tapuwa Nhachi, said it should be taken into cognisance that not all minerals needed to be beneficiated before they were sold.

“The issue of beneficiation has to be targeted at certain minerals only because there are some precious stones that can be sold without beneficiation. There must be detailed research and understanding of which mineral needs to be beneficiated,” Nhachi said.

Researcher, Gracian Godzonga said it was important to talk of infrastructure that allowed for beneficiation of minerals first before placing rules that no minerals shall be exported in raw form.

Wence Kutekwatekwa, the director of Virimai Projects said there was need for more clarity on the Bill pertaining to issues of beneficiation infrastructure as the country was faced with other challenges such as power.

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