HARARE -- The Zimbabwean government has finished drafting new mining regulations that among other things seek to compel both foreign and local mining houses to fund development projects in the local communities where they operate.
The Mines and Minerals Act Amendment Bill which has been on the cards for the past seven years comes in the wake of a government drive to force foreign owned mining firms to sell controlling stake to black Zimbabweans as a part of a controversial scheme to indigenise the economy.
Secretary for mines Thankful Musukutwa at the weekend said the government was looking to submit the Bill “soon” to all stakeholders for further consultation.
“The Attorney General’s office has completed drafting the Bill, we should have the Bill so that we submit it to mining stakeholders for corrections and consultations,” he said, adding that delays in finalising the bill had been because of bureaucratic red tape.
The proposed new law will compound uncertainty in Zimbabwe’s mining industry, thrown into turmoil when the government in March announced that it was fast tracking indigenisation of the mining sector and gave foreign-owned mining firms up to mid-May to submit details of how they plan to transfer 51 percent stakes to locals by next September.
Firms that fail to disclose to Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere their share-transfer plans within the stipulated period face prosecution, according to the regulations that have cast a dark shadow over the lucrative mining sector, while splitting the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.