President Mnangagwa yesterday said mining companies holding on to claims should either use them or risk losing them to the State, even if they are paying fees to keep them.
Mnangagwa said there are companies 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. He said this while fielding questions during the inaugural youth Indaba in Harare. Mnangagwa said the Mines and Mining Development Minister was empowered by law to acquire unused claims. Said Mnangagwa:
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. 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 generations 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.
Mnangagwa said Government secured funding from China to buy machinery for those who want to venture into small scale mining in groups.