Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa has said mining companies holding onto claims should either use them or risk losing them to the State even if they are paying fees to keep the claims. He said there were some big conglomerates that have been holding on to mining claims for more than 60 years, thereby denying new players an opportunity to venture into the mining sector.
Responding to questions from the floor during the inaugural youth indaba in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said there were enough pieces of legislation in the statute books that empowered the Mines and Mining Development Minister to acquire such claims.
“In the mining sector, we have come to realise that most of the minerals discovered or known have been claimed by companies that are not using those claims at all,” said President Mnangagwa.
“They just registered the claims across the country for either speculation or for future extraction. You rarely find free, unpegged or areas where there are no claims in the country.
“So, to create opportunities for young generation coming into the market, we have introduced the policy of use it or lose it. So if you have a claim which you do not use, you lose it to the State.
“Just yesterday in Cabinet, we realised that we have adequate pieces of legislation already in existence in our statute books which gives the Minister of Mines power to acquire such claims. We have big mining companies who own vast tracts of land which they have claimed.
“Whether you are paying annual fees to keep the claim, we are saying no. Use it or lose it, whether you are paying for these claims.
“We are doing this because we have discovered the need which has come to us from many young people who have come together who want to be assisted to do some mining projects, but then they fail to secure claims because they have been secured 50, 60 years ago, 100 years ago, by mining conglomerates.”
President Mnangagwa said Government secured funding from China to buy machinery for those who want to venture into small-scale mining in groups.
“We have a financial window in the Ministry of Mines supported by our friendly country of the People’s Republic of China where we have applied for mining equipment to support groups who register,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We don’t want you to just go around mining without mining using proper methods. If you come together as a group and follow the laid down procedures, we will support and empower you. We will grant you the opportunity to set up your mining operations.”
With regards to land, President Mnangagwa said Government was ready to assist young people who come together in groups to start income-generating projects.
He said there were also vast opportunities that the youths could exploit in the tourism sector and other industries such as ICT.
The youth indaba was organised by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation for young people to have direct engagement with President Mnangagwa.
Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga also attended the indaba, which was running under the theme: “My future is today.”
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry chaired the discussion where youths from various organisations posed questions to President Mnangagwa.