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Government to lift ban on reserved mining areas: Minister Chinamasa

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Government says it will lift a ban on reserved mining areas with a view to opening up some areas for prospecting and pegging for interested investors. This is envisaged to increase mining activities, and consequently mineral output.

In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the country has immense mineral resources, which it can leverage to secure financing of its various development projects.

“Fortunately, a number of investors are prepared to provide loans on the back of such resources, particularly gold. In this regard, government will identify claims, which will be surveyed to determine the quantum of resources available”, he said.

He said these claims will then be either disposed of at 100% value, through auction or competitive bidding and in the same vein, Chinamasa said government would  also target the creation of a large gold reserve in a systematic manner for purposes of securitizing borrowing for development programmes.

The mining industry requires about US$3.9 billion to optimize production in the next five years, of which planned investments during 2016 are estimated at close to US$500 million.

Chinamasa added that measures to strengthen surveillance systems on plugging leakages were also being developed.

Recently government introduced measures to curb gold leakages and according to Minister Chinamasa, the curbing of gold leakages had boosted gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.On this note he said the government will further capacitate the Mines and Minerals Unit in order to maintain the positive momentum.

“Government is, therefore, prioritising capacitation of Fidelity Printers and Refiners in order for it to be able to meet the cash demands of small scale miners, resultantly boosting gold deliveries from such miners. This measure is also essential to curtail diversion of some gold to the black market by some small scale miners,” he said.

Fidelity Printers and Refiners gold buying centers are limited to towns and a few mining areas, leaving the majority of areas where gold is being produced open to illegal buyers.

Meanwhile Government is also pursuing the realization of environmentally friendly riverbed mining.

“Exploration to determine the lifetime of the mining project, as well as the extent of mineralization, is being undertaken by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company. This will ascertain scope for mineral expansion, equipment and additional funding requirements”, he said.

The mining sector is projected to register a modest recovery growth of 13.2% in 2016, largely driven by the anticipated growth in gold, platinum group of metals and nickel.

In the first half of 2016 gold output stood at 10 360 kg, up from 8 869 kg produced during the comparable period in 2015.

“As a result, revenues from gold exports rose from US$340 million in the same period in 2015 to US$415 million in the first half of 2016.,” he said.

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