EPOs get miners’ support 

Source: EPOs get miners’ support | The Herald December 12, 2019

Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Government’s strategy to identify, quantify and produce bankable prospectus to mineral rich claims through the issuing of Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) has gotten the buy-in of small-scale miners some of whom were threatening to scuttle the   project.

The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, in the new dispensation, has set the need to extensively explore and quantify mineral deposits as one of its upper most to do activities in a bid to attract capital into the country’s mining sector.

This, Government is hoping to achieve through the issuance of EPOs and allow international mineral explorers to scan through the country’s belly in search of minerals and produce bankable exploration results that can attract investment in line with the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.

However, the plan had fallen fowl of some unscrupulous mine claim barons that had been in the habit of pegging and selling mining assets.

In light of qualms from certain sections of the small-scale miners, the umbrella body representing the artisanal miners — Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) — has called on its membership to support the programme as it seeks to lure more capital in the sector.

“One of the biggest challenges that has held back the mining sector in this country is that we are under explored and our people have largely been mining in darkness,” said ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya.

“So we very much welcome any effort to expedite the issuance of EPOs so that we can have international companies coming in to tell us what we really are endowed with and thereby producing bankable reports that can attract capital.

“It’s not true that ZMF is against EPOs, the real people who are against EPOs are individuals who are in the business of pegging and clandestinely selling mineral rich claims,” she said.

Ms Rushwaya said miners need to acquaint themselves with the laws of the land before standing in the way of well-meaning Government projects as in the case of EPOs.

She also noted that the granting of an EPO to big companies doesn’t necessarily shut the door on small-scale mining activities as miners can get permission to mine while prospecting goes on.

Government has identified mining as one of the key sectors which should anchor economic revival.

In the short-term, a US$12 billion milestone has been set for 2023.