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Prospecting for minerals

Prospecting for minerals

Godknows Hofisi

Mineral resources in Zimbabwe are vested in the President. The principal Act is the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05). There are other Acts and regulations as reported in my previous articles on mining.


For one to prospect for minerals he or she needs a prospecting licence. The holder of a prospecting licence will have the following prospecting and pegging rights subject to sections 21 and 368:

The right of prospecting and searching for any minerals, mineral oils and natural gas on land open to prospecting, but not the right of removing or disposing of any mineral discovered. Allowed exceptions are for the bona fide purpose of having it assayed or of
determining the nature thereof or with the written permission of the mining commissioner.

The right of pegging of one block of precious metal claims, one block of precious stones claims or one block of base mineral claims.
Section 27(2) prohibits drilling or excavation work at the surface or underground unless done on the strength of exclusive rights.

Land open to prospecting

The following land is open to prospecting:

All State land and Communal land, All private land on which is reserved the right to all minerals or the power to make grants of 
the right to prospect for minerals.

All land held by any person under any enactment or agreement whereby such person is entitled to obtain from the State title thereto on the fulfilment by him of the conditions prescribed by such enactment or agreement.

Duration of prospecting licence

According to section 23 of the Act a prospecting licence shall be valid for two years. However registration of a prospector is valid for 5 years.

Acquisition of prospecting licence

A prospecting licence is acquired in terms of section 20 of the Act. A person over 18 years of age who is a permanent resident of Zimbabwe or any duly appointed agent of such person may take out at the office of any mining commissioner one or more prospecting licence.

The applicant has to pay the prescribed fee.

On making application for a prospecting licence the applicant shall furnish to the mining commissioner the following:

Applicant’s full name
Permanent postal address

Such information as the mining commissioner may require.

The mining commissioner may issue or refuse to issue the prospecting licence. Where the mining commissioner refuses to issue the licence he or she should forthwith report the refusal to the Secretary (in the Ministry).
The Secretary shall refer the report to the Minister. If so instructed by the Minister the Secretary will direct the mining commissioner to issue the prospecting licence.

In terms of section 21 an approved prospector may be appointed as a representative of a prospecting licence holder. Such a representative shall act under the prospecting licence to which his appointment relates solely for the benefit of the licence holder.

Sale is prohibited
The sale of a prospecting licence is prohibited by section 25.

Ground not open to prospecting

Section 31 of the Act applies. There is ground on which a holder of a prospecting licence or any special grant is not allowed to carry out prospecting operations. Various scenarios are covered such as:
Private land
Any mining location other than one in respect of which he or she may have acquired the exclusive right of prospecting under such licence or special grant or exclusive prospecting order.
Within surveyed limits of any city, town, township or village, Certain land outside surveyed limits of any city, town, township or village.
Upon any Communal land occupied as a village without the written consent of the rural district council established for the area.

See Also

Notice of intention to prospect
In terms of section 38, every person, before exercising rights associated with the prospecting licence or special grant to carry out prospecting operations shall give notice of hisor her intention to do so.

Such notice shall be valid for 120 days. A notice given by a holder of an exclusive prospecting order or a special grant to carry out prospecting operations shall be valid for the period of that order or special grant.

Prospecting notices

According to section 41 any holder of a prospecting licence who wishes to drill or excavate, whether at the surface or underground, shall post a notice to be called “prospecting notice” on the ground open to prospecting.

Discovery of minerals or precious stones
Section 42 applies. If a holder of a prospecting licence discovers within the area covered by his prospecting notice, any ore or deposit of precious metals or precious stones, he or she shall mark the point of such discovery.

Pegging of precious metal, precious stones or base mineral blocks is done in terms of section 43.


Mining sites are registered in terms of section 48 and blocks in terms of section 45.

This simplified article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute the writer’s professional advice.

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

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