Zim hikes exploration fees
Harare – Zimbabwe has has raised exploration fees for diamonds and coal in order to discourage speculative behaviour in the country’s lucrative mining sector, state media reported this week. The exploration fee for diamonds had increased twenty-fold to $1 million while the coal fee went up five-fold to $100,000 from $20,000. “Minerals are a waste resource, hence the fees and charges levied for exploitation should reflect their value. Treasury, therefore, concurs with your proposal to review fees and charges premised on the principle of cost recovery, affordability and regional best practices,” Finance ministry secretary Willard Manungo was quoted as saying in a letter to his Mines counterpart. “It is also envisaged that the approved fees and charges will enable your ministry to efficiently provide goods and services, as well as significantly contribute to the fiscus.” Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire said the adjustment was necessary to discourage speculative behaviour in the mining sector. “We have companies and individuals who are holding onto unused mining claims. We want serious investors in the mining sector. “Currently, we have various mining houses who are just holding claims. This will not help the economy. We want mining for development,” he said. The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said the increase was unexpected but would not say whether it would impact new investment in the resource-rich nation. “We were not consulted about it and this is quite a hefty increase,” Chris Hokonya, the chamber’s chief executive, told Reuters. The government has said many companies hold mining claims for speculation and the increase in exploration fees is seen as discouraging the practice. Global miner Rio Tinto is just one of the foreign companies mining diamonds in the southern African nation. The government last year announced it would nationalise all alluvial diamond mining operations, mostly in the eastern Marange district, while handing management contracts to private companies.