The Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05) (the Act) is the principal Act regulating the mining industry in Zimbabwe.
There are several regulations and other Acts that apply. In this article an overview is given of the Act. Space permitting specific issues or parts of the Act will be dealt with in future.
Arrangement of the Act
The Act is arranged into twenty seven parts (27) from Part 1 to Part XXVII. Each part is made up of related sections. The key parts are explained below.
These are covered in Part 1, sections 1 to 5 and cover aspects such as the Act’s short title, that rights to minerals are vested in the President.
It also includes how mining rights are acquired with respect to all minerals, mineral oils and natural gases. The interpretation section contains definitions of key words used in the Act.
Establishment and functions of the Mining Affairs Board (“MAB” or “the Board”)
Part 11, comprising sections 6-13, covers the establishment and functions of the MAB and that the Board shall exercise and perform the powers, functions and duties conferred and impose upon it by the Act. Broadly, the MAB deals with the granting of mining rights, their withdrawal or cancellation, approving certain mining agreements and transactions. The composition of the MAB is addressed.
Register of approved prospectors
Part III, made up of sections 14-19, applies. Prospecting means searching for a mineral deposit. The Secretary in the Ministry shall establish and maintain a register of approved prospectors. Details will include the prospectors, application to be an approved prospector, expiry of registration (5 years) and its renewal, cancellation or suspension.
Acquisition and registration of mining rights
Part IV, comprising sections 20-62, is of interest to many. Basic mining rights involve the right to prospect for mineral deposits, the right to carry on mining operations on a claim and leasing.
The holder of mining rights is entitled to the exclusive right of mining any ore or deposit of any mineral which occurs within the deposit of any mineral which occurs within the vertical limits of the area covered in the mining location.
Any adult person who is a permanent resident of Zimbabwe or any duly appointed agent of such person may take out one or more prospecting licences on payment of prescribed fees. According to section 23 a prospecting licence shall be valid for two years. Sale of prospecting licence is forbidden.
Section 26 covers land that is open to prospecting which includes all State and communal land, certain private land, certain land held under any enactment and requiring title from the State.
Other sections cover the discovery of minerals or precious stones, registration of blocks, numbering of locations, pegging of sites, registration of sites, cancellation of certificate of registration of block or site and lost certificates of registration.
Part VIII, made up of sections 135-157, applies. In terms of section 135(1) the holder of a registered mining location or contiguous registered mining locations may make written application to the mining commissioner for the issue to him of a mining lease in respect of a defined area within which such mining location or locations are situated. The MAB decides on the application and its decision is final and without appeal.
Section 142(3) covers the conditions to be met for the application for a mining lease to succeed. Section 150(1) covers the rights enjoyed by the holder of a mining lease.
Special mining leases
Part IX, comprising sections 158 to 168, applies. Section 159(1) defines conditions for a special mining lease, essentially a minimum foreign currency investment and that the output therefrom should be principally for export. The special mining lease is approved or refused by the President upon recommendations by the MAB and Minister.
Rights of claim holders and land owners
Part X, being sections 169-196, applies. This part covers mining rights in respect of a registered block of precious metal reef claims.
Preservation of mining rights
Part XI, consisting of sections 197-221, applies. The part deals with aspects such as first inspection certificate, second inspection certificate and subsequent inspection certificates.
Part XIV, comprising sections 243-254, is applicable. Royalties are charged on mining output. According to section 244(1) the miner of a registered mining location shall pay royalty on all minerals or mineral bearing products won from such location which have been disposed of by him or on his behalf, whether in Zimbabwe or outside during any month at rates set from time to time.
Payment to local authorities
Part XV, being sections 255-257 applies and deals with payments made to local authorities with respect to mining.
Abandonment and forfeiture
Part XVI, or sections 258-273, deals with abandonment of unregistered locations, registered blocks or sites, forfeiture of precious metal claims, of precious stones blocks, of mining leases or mining locations.
Registration of transfers, hypothecations, options, tribute agreements and conditions governing mining rights on reserved ground
Part XVII, being sections 274-282, applies. This is a key part of the Act and covers areas such as registration of transfer of mining locations, registration of hypothecation of mining location, hypothecation in respect in respect of loans granted to State and registration of tribute agreements, etc.
Approval of tribute agreements
Part XVIII, being sections 283-290 is applicable. In terms of section 284 every tribute agreement should be examined and approved by the MAB or Mining Commissioner.
Part XIX, comprising sections 291-296, applies. In terms of section 291 (1) special grants to carry out prospecting or mining operations are issued by the Secretary and rights thereto are in terms of section 294(2).
Special grants for coal, mineral oils and natural gases
Part XX, being sections 297-307, applies. According to section 298 — rights to mine coal, mineral oils or natural gases may only be acquired under special grant. The special grant is approved by the President.
Some areas not covered
Many other parts of the Act have not been covered due to space considerations.
This simplified article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute the writer’s professional advice. Due to the numerous laws involved frequent changes are inevitable. To be compliant organisations and individuals are advised to consult adequately.
Godknows Hofisi, LLB(UNISA), B.Acc(UZ), CA(Z), MBA(EBS,UK) is a legal practitioner/conveyancer with a local law firm, chartered accountant, insolvency practitioner, registered tax accountant, consultant in deal structuring, business management and tax and is an experienced director including as chairperson. He writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted on +263 772 246 900 or [email protected]