Administration of the mining industry

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Below is a list of the important pieces of legislation that govern mining operations. It is important that whoever is involved in mining is familiar with the provision of these pieces of legislation as they detail the obligations of holders of mining locations.


1.    Mines and Minerals Act Chapter 21:05
2.    Explosives Regulations
3.    Mining (Managements and Safety) Regulations SI 109 of 1990
4.    Mining (Health and Sanitation) Regulations SI 182 of 1995
5.    Mining (General) Regulations R Government Notice 247 of 1977
6.    Gold Trade (Gold Buying Permits for concession Areas) Regulations
7.    Mines and Minerals (Custom Milling Plants) Regulations SI 239 of 2002
8.    Mines and Minerals (Contracted Inspectors ) Regulations SI 249 of 2006
9.    Mines and Minerals (Minerals Unit) Regulations SI 82 of 2008
10.  Mines and Minerals (Declaration of Minerals ) Notice SI 91 of 1990 Regulations
11.  Gold Trade Act Chapter 21:03
12.  Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 21:04
13.  Copper Control Act Chapter 14:06
14.  Explosives Act Chapter 10:08
15.  Precious Stones Trade Act Chapter 21:06
16.  Environmental Management Act Chapter 20:27
17.  Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act Chapter 20:03
18.  Hazardous Substances and Articles Act Chapter 15:05
19.  Pneumoconiosis Act Chapter 15:08
20.  Forestry Act Chapter 19:05
21.  Water Act Chapter 20:22
22.  Zimbabwe National Water Authority Act Chapter 20:25
23.  Companies Act Chapter 24:03
24.  Revenue Authorities Act Chapter 23:11
25.  Value Added Tax Act Chapter23:12
26.  Income Tax Act Chapter 23:06
27.  Finance Act Chapter 23:04
28.  Capital Gains Tax Act Chapter 23:01
29.  Companies Act
30.  Exchange Control Act
31.  Indigenization and Empowerment Act

 

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The above list may not be final as the government may from time to time issue Statutory Instruments that may directly or indirectly impact on any of the above laws and regulations. Hard copies of all pieces of legislation may be purchased from the Printflow, George Silundika Ave., Tel. +263 4706161-8, www.law.co.zw

 

The Mine and Minerals Act Chapter 21:05 is the principal law governing mining in Zimbabwe. This law provides security of tenure and has clear provisions for acquisition, maintenance and relinquishing  of mining title. The act has been in force since 1965 and has served the country well.

 

With countries in the region revising their mining laws, there is an opportunity for Zimbabwe to do the same to remain competitive. Hence the pending exercise to amend the Mines and Minerals Act. The objectives of this exercise is to simplify the Act, and to provide for enhanced environmental management of mining operations and to provide for life of mine management for large scale operations. In addition, the amendments are aimed at providing for broad based economic empowerment of indigenous Zimbabweans, taking into consideration not only equity, but also allowing for conversion of social investment by mining companies into equity equivalent.

 

The Mines and Minerals Act has been acknowledged as a good piece of legislation by both local and international investors. Some countries in the region and elsewhere have developed their own mining laws based on the Zimbabwean model.

 

Mineral rights are vested in the State President.  It is very simple for any local or international investor to acquire mining titles. The manner in which these titles are acquired, relinquished or forfeited is clearly defined and easy to apply. However, due to reduced financial resources available to government to fulfill its various mandates, and also the increase in activity within the sector, inefficiencies have been experienced. To deal with this problem, the mining title system is being reviewed with a view to computerise the administration of mining titles for easy acquisition and administration thereof. This overhaul,  has also presented an opportunity for the review of the Mines and Minerals Act to simplify and enhance the effectiveness of the Act.

 

In order to improve the service delivery, it is envisaged that procedures will be streamlined thereby reducing processing time for issuance of mining title and other services. This will bring Zimbabwe in line with other countries in the region and elsewhere in terms of efficiencies in services provided to investors and the general mining public. The amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act are also meant to simplify the act by removing all provisions of a regulatory nature from the main Act and providing for these in Regulations. This is meant to ensure that the Ministry of Mines and mining Development responds effectively and efficiently to the requirements of the industry. It has been suggested that issues such as specific rates applicable, size of EPOs and other issues, which may need to be revised from time to time, need not be in the main Act.

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The provisions in current mining legislation on management of mining title are given below.

Rights to Minerals (Part I, Section 2)
The dominion in the right of searching and mining for and disposing of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gases is vested in the State President.

Acquisition of Mineral Rights (Section20, 23, and 24)
Any person of 18 years of age or older who is a permanent resident of Zimbabwe or his agent may acquire one or more prospecting licences on payment of the appropriate fee.  The licence so acquired is valid for 24 months.

 

Land open to prospecting (Section 26)

  • All State Land and Communal Land.
  • All private land to which there has been reserved, either to the British South African Company or to the Government of Zimbabwe, the right to all minerals or power to make grants of the right to prospecting of minerals.
  • All land held by any person under enactment or agreement whereby such person is entitled to obtain from the State title thereto on the fulfilment by him the conditions prescribed by such enactment.

Any person may make a written application to the Mining Affairs Board (MAB) for authority to prospect on reserved ground.

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Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPO) (Part VI)
Any person may make a written application to the Board for an EPO in his/her favour over any defined area in Zimbabwe, including any area reserved from prospecting.  On application the applicant shall pay a deposit per hectare.  If the Board is satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to obtain the order and is of adequate financial standing to undertake the operations under the order; and that it would not be against the national interest to make such an order, then the Board may recommend to the Minister to make the EPO in favour of the applicant.

No EPO shall be granted for a period exceeding three years but an order may be extended by the Minister on recommendation by the Board for a further period not exceeding three years in all.

The rights granted under an order shall be personal to the authorised holder who may not cede or assign any such rights to another person. The Minister may, on the recommendation of the Mining Affairs Board and with the consent of the concession holder, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld, authorise any person to peg and register for a mineral other than a mineral for which the concession holder is authorised to prospect.

Every concession holder shall submit for the approval of the Board, a programme of work containing particulars of the intended prospecting operations and their costs.

The concession holder shall carry out the approved programme and submit to the Board a report of the work carried out during the period covered by the programme including expenditure incurred.  If the concession holder fails to submit the report, he/she is notified in writing by the Board that his/her order is liable to be revoked.  If no report is received within 21 days of such notification then the Minister shall revoke the order.

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Mining Leases (Part VIII)
The holder of a mining location or contiguous registered mining locations may make written application to the mining commissioner for the issue to him of a mining lease in respect of a defined area within which such locations are situated. The holder of a mining lease has the exclusive right of mining any deposit or mineral that occurs within the vertical limits of his lease.

Special Mining Leases (Part IX)
The holder of one or more contiguous mining locations who intends to develop a mine thereon with the investment in the mine being wholly or mainly foreign and exceeds US$100 million in value, and the mine’s output is intended primarily for export, may apply in writing to the mining commissioner for a special mining lease of a defined area within which his mining locations are situated. 

The Board may permit a person to make an application notwithstanding that either or both the criteria mentioned above will not be met, if the Board considers that it is desirable in the interest of the development of Zimbabwe’s mineral resources.

Having received the application the Board shall forward it to the Minister together with their recommendations.  The Minister shall submit them to the President together with his own recommendation for the President’s approval.

 

Mining Rights (Section 177)
Priority of acquisition of title to any location, reef or deposit, if such title has been dully maintained, shall in every case determine the rights as between the various peggers of mining locations as the aforesaid and in cases of dispute the rule shall be followed that, in the event of any rights of any subsequent pegger conflicting with the rights of a prior pegger, then, to the extent to which such rights conflict, the rights of any subsequent pegger shall be subordinate to those of the prior pegger.

Preservation of Mining Rights (Part XI)
The holder of any block of base mineral, reef or placer deposit claims registered as precious metal or of any mining lease shall, within six weeks of registration, apply to the mining commissioner for and obtain a certificate of inspection in respect of work executed on the mining location. The Secretary may authorise a mining commissioner to grant a protection certificate in respect of any block of reef or placer deposit claims.

Alluvial, eluvial, rubble deposit, dumps and precious metal blocks: The holder of such blocks shall continuously work his claims from the date of registration of such blocks and shall pay to the mining commissioner annually in advance the prescribed fee in respect of such blocks.

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Working Other Designated Mineral Deposits
The minister may, by statutory instrument, declare any mineral to be a designated mineral for the purpose of the control of working such a mineral and may revoke in like manner any such mineral.

Transfers (XVII)
When any registered mining location or any interest therein is sold or otherwise alienated, the seller or person who so alienates shall notify the commissioner of the transaction within 60 days of the date of transaction, and shall inform him of the name of the person to whom such location or interest is sold or otherwise alienated and the amount of the valuable consideration, if any, agreed upon, and the date of the transaction.

Tributes (Part XVII)
If any holder of a registered mining location has agreed in writing to grant a tribute to any other person, the tributor may apply to the mining commissioner for the registration of a notorial deed embodying the terms of such agreement.

Special Grant(XIX and XX)
The Secretary may issue, under Part XX, to any person a special grant to carry out prospecting operations or to carry out mining operations or any other operations for mining purposes, upon a defined area situated in an area which has been reserved against prospecting or pegging.
The rights to mine coal, minerals oils or natural gas may only be acquired under special grant, under Part XIX, of the Act.

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The Mining Affairs Board (MAB)
The Mining Affairs Board is a body created through Part II of the Mines and Minerals Act. It is established to exercise and perform the powers, function and duties conferred and imposed on it by the Act. These include the oversight in the management of mining titles and the effective administration of the Mines and Minerals Act. The board is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. Members of the MAB are selected for their expertise in mining, legal, and environmental affairs.