GOVERNMENT has repossessed 16 mining concessions which were lying idle across the country as it has started implementing the “use it or lose it policy”.
The 16 concessions are part of the 213 mining concessions earmarked for repossession in the first phase.
Government has also reclaimed 21 000 hectares of mining land following failure by owners to pay inspection fees.
The Mines and Minerals Act empowers Government to repossess unused mining concessions to prevent speculative holding of valuable assets.
The law also promotes investment, job creation and ensure broader access to mining assets by allowing those ready to mine to file claims and obtain concessions.
In this exercise, small claims are consolidated to make viable mining concessions that are then allocated to genuine investors willing to start mining operations. Government is working towards transforming the mining sector into a $12 billion industry by 2023.
The mining sector is a critical foreign currency earner as it contributes about 70 percent of the country’s forex earnings and the projected growth by 2023 represents a huge jump from the US$2,7 billion achieved in 2017.
By 2030, Government expects that the mining industry will be generating more than US$20 billion.
In an interview in Gweru yesterday, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said 16 mining concessions had been repossessed since the exercise started.
Minister Chitando reiterated that the $12 billion mining industry by 2023 target was achievable.
“We have started the process of repossessing all concessions which are not being worked on as they are subjected to use it or lose it. As of today, we have repossessed 16 across the country. There are 213 concessions earmarked for repossession under the first phase,” he said.
Minister Chitando said the mining concessions will be allocated to other companies willing to immediately work on them.
He said the $1,4 billion lithium project in Kamativi Matabeleland North was well on course.
Zimbabwe Lithium Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Jimbata, had targeted to resume production at the mine last year but the deadline was missed because of the legal battle.
“The $1,4 billion project is on course and in the next two months, we shall be releasing operation strategy. Government wants mining projects across the country to start moving as we move towards achieving the $12 billion mining industry,” he said.