- December 18, 2019
- Posted in LOCAL
THE Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ) has hailed the existing legal and institutional framework governing Exclusive Prospecting Orders saying it promotes the growth of the mining sector if properly enforced.
The remarks by CoMZ follows on-going debate on the importance of EPOs in the development of the mining industry and particularly on whether the above instruments would require restructuring or removal.
In a statement, the CoMZ said based on Zimbabwe’s past success stories and international best practices, it recommends that the EPOs be maintained.
“Our current functional legal and institutional framework, if properly enforced, can promote the critical role of EPOs in the development and growth of the mining industry. The current framework encourages both small scale and large scale (miners) to co-exist – ensuring optimal development of the mining industry.
“The current system, plus the additional provisions on reduced EPO size, limiting the number of EPOs a person may hold and relinquishment provisions, should adequately deal with access to ground by all investors,” it said.
CoMZ noted that this would ensure ground is released for other interested investors to acquire for purposes of mineral prospecting and exploration.
It said the enforcement of the ‘Use it or Lose it’ framework, as provided in the Act will require strong and effective institutions to monitor and supervise activities.
“We further recommend that the Geological Survey Department be strengthened to better monitor exploration activities. This will ensure that the quality of reports are at the highest standard and the country and any future investor can benefit from work of the previous investor who would have worked the same ground,” said CoMz.
EPOs are essentially exploration titles for undertaking geo-scientific investigations that reveals the mineral potential of a defined area.
The Chamber of Mines said the country was not unique in availing to potential investors such titles as they also exist in many other mining jurisdictions.
EPOs were introduced into the mining law of Zimbabwe in 1947 and since their inception there have been significant transformation in the title management system which has influenced the growth of the mining industry, said CoMZ.
It said the existing provisions on prospecting and exploration titles were designed to accommodate small-scale and large-scale investors.
“Work carried out during the tenure of EPOs has, over the years, been translated into numerous successful mining ventures. Records of these successes are held at the Geological Survey Department.
“EPOs have been granted over ground where mineralisation was not known (green field) and ground where mineralisation was known to be present (brownfields) resulting in some discoveries of deposits that have been developed into major mines.
“The success rate for exploration in Zimbabwe was at 3,9 percent by 1984, which is quite high by global standards. Success rates for mineral exploration are generally in the order of 0,1 percent.”
The Chamber of Mines highlighted that some of the successes include Murowa Diamonds, Trojan Nickel Mines, Freda Rebecca Mine, Blanket Mine extension, Marange Diamonds, Mhangura Copper Mines, Kanyemba Uranium Deposit and Great Dyke Platinum-Nickel-Copper deposit, among others.
“Further to say that in achieving these successes, the small-scale mining sector has grown, having co-existed with the EPOs. Those who have requested to access ground with EPOs in accordance with the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act have largely been accommodated,” said the Chamber of Mines.
The world over, there has been competition for ground to explore for and mine minerals among investors large and small.
EPOs have been pivotal in generating geo-scientific information which has been archived and used for mining and other land uses.
The CoMZ said it is the duty of the regulator to craft policies, laws and the necessary institutional framework to ensure that activities are conducted in an orderly manner and they are aligned to the developmental thrust of the country.
It said important considerations include reducing the impact of mining on the environment, ensuring co-existence with other land and desired structures of the mining industry_