Cabinet Approves Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill

Cabinet has approved the long-awaited Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi presented the Bill as chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation together with Deputy Attorney General Nelson Diaz.

“Approval represents a milestone following a protracted process which involved extensive consultation and rigorous analysis.

“The Bill will introduce a new system under which prospecting licences will be called ‘exclusive prospecting licences’ that will restrict each licensee to prospect within a singed area. The actual pegging and other acts of demarcation on the ground and on a map can only be done by a staking agent on behalf of the prospector unless the prospector is also registered as a staking agent,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“A prospecting licensee will not be allowed to remove minerals from the land on which they are found, except for purposes of assaying. This clause is the first of many relating to the manner of resolving disputes between prospectors and miners on the one hand, and farmers and other landholders on the other. It sets the pattern for other clauses addressing farmer and miner disputes.”

The Bill, said Minister Mutsvangwa, will provide for the establishment of the Mining Affairs Board with functions similar to the existing board, but having an altered composition, including miners, farmers, and other stakeholders.

“The definition of ‘civil penalty’ defines a new kind of non-criminal penalty which will apply to the majority of infringements committed by miners. In general, mining activity is not permitted on homesteads and housing infrastructure as well as on roads and other transportation infrastructure, among others,” she said.