The Zimbabwean Government has forfeited more than 1 000 gold mining claims belonging to individuals and companies in Matabeleland North Province for failure to pay inspection fees since last year and beyond, as it forges ahead with its “use it or lose it” policy aimed at enhancing mineral production.
Matabeleland North provincial mining director, Julius Moyo, confirmed the forfeiting of the claims in terms of Section 260 and 261 of the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05) after the lapsing of a one month grace period to clear their arrears by 31 July.
A miner is required to pay an inspection fee of $100 six months upon starting operations, thereafter one is subjected to paying the same amount yearly per mining claim.
“Our mandate is to see to it that the miners pay their inspection fees to Government every year. They were given ample time, a month’s warning. People should learn to honour their tax obligation because how do they expect the Government to generate its revenue,” said Moyo.
A notice dated 19 June seen by Sunday Business at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development’s provincial offices in Bulawayo stated that: “Notice is hereby given to all registered miners that all claims with their last inspection date falling under 31 December 2016 will be forfeited after 30 days (24 July 2017) unless all arrears are cleared in accordance to the Mines and Minerals Act Chapter 21:05 section 265 Subsection (2)”.
Moyo said most of the forfeited mining claims were unutilised with owners holding onto them for speculative purposes.
Although Moyo could not give some of the names, some of the claims are reportedly registered under big mining companies and executive members of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation.
“The bulk of the mines are not being worked on, they are just claims most of the miners were just keeping for speculative purposes. It’s not (forfeiting of mines) happening at the same time (countrywide). We (Matabeleland North) are doing it now, maybe others did it earlier,” he said.
The confiscation of the claims for non-payment of inspection fees is part of Government’s efforts to take over unused mining licenses from companies and liberalise gold trading as a way to boost output.
According to the ministry the forfeited claims would be opened for re-allocation on 21 August unless forfeiture has been revoked in accordance with Section 260 of the Mines and Minerals Act
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