JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Zimbabwean government is committed to ensuring mining policy certainty to win back investment and revive the industry, Mining and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said at an investor seminar in Johannesburg.
Addressing delegates at the Harare Indaba, on Monday, he said that the biggest questions investors have about Zimbabwe’s mining sector revolved around the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which former President Robert Mugabe enacted in 2007.
Under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the government earlier this month amended the Act to restrict compulsory indigenisation to the diamond and platinum sectors exclusively. The amended Act is designed to ensure that, in the course of time, at least 51% of any designated extractive business is owned through an appropriate designated entity, with or without the participation of a community share ownership scheme or employee share ownership scheme or trust.
“The Act says that investors can apply to waive the 51% ownership, on a case-by-case basis. In terms of policy issues, it is important to attract capital to improve capacity utilisation and to invest into our mining sectors,” Chitando said.
Also speaking at the event was Zimbabwe mines and energy portfolio committee chairperson Temba Mliswa, who disagrees with the 51% ownership policy for the platinum and diamond industries. He said that it would make more sense to adopt a level of between 20% and 30% local ownership to be more attractive to investors.
“The Minister has not had an opportunity to talk to investors and key role-players, and work on the position that can be tabled,” he said.
Commenting on the Mines and Minerals Bill, which seeks to replace the principal Act crafted in 1961, Mliswa said that the Bill was reviewed earlier this month and that it would be finalised soon.
“The Act is the spine of the industry and we would like to ensure that the Mines and Minerals Bill is finalised and put into law before the end of May,” he said.
Chitando also told the audience that government was holding fortnightly liaisons with the Zimbabwean Chamber of Mines to streamline business and to look at various areas to tackle policies through interface with the industry.
“Zimbabwe is open for business, and we are keen to see the economy grow and Vision 2030 realised. That will only happen when we have policy consistency - just give us a chance,” he said.