The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has advised farmers to register their arable land with the ministry to avoid having it designated for mining purposes.
According to NewZimbabwe.com, a senior Mines Ministry official, Nolwazi Muchinguri, said there was legislation allowing farmers to register with the ministry and avoid having their farms designated for pegging for mining. She said:
The farmer only has surface rights, and this means they don’t have rights over minerals underground which are vested in the President of Zimbabwe.
The current law demands that a farmer has to register their farm with the Mines Minister (Winston Chitando) so that it is not earmarked for allocation because it is a productive farm.
Muchinguri was speaking at the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) workshop in Chinhoyi funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Her remarks come as there is rising conflict across the country between farmers and miners, with the latter being accused of invading productive farms for mining purposes, especially for gold and chrome.
Muchinguri explained farmers, occupying farms found with precious minerals, were entitled to the first right of refusal to compensation for the land to pave way for mining activities.
Meanwhile, a prominent Chinhoyi farmer, Nick Swanepoel, lamented the cumbersome process of registering farms with the Ministry of Mines.
He instead proposed the harmonisation of laws governing both mining and farming sectors in order to ensure economic prosperity.
The ZLC is a statutory body established under Section 296 of the Constitution and is mandated to regularise the settlement of beneficiaries on farms repossessed during Fast Track Land Reform Programme, which started in 2000.
ZLC has an oversight role on the administration of agricultural land vested in the state and to regularise the fast-track land reform programme which resettled plus or minus 300 000 farmers.