Zim hikes mining exploration fees to $1m

Zimbabwe has hiked mining exploration fees almost 2 000% to $1-million in a bid to curb speculation, a state daily reported on Wednesday.

“We have companies and individuals who are holding on to unused mining claims,” Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire told the Herald newspaper.

“This will not help the economy. We want mining for development.”

Exploration fees had previously been set at $50 000. Fees for new coal projects have also been upped from $20 000 to $100 000, the Herald reported.

“It is ... envisaged that the approved fees and charges will enable [the mining] ministry to effectively provide goods and services, as well as significantly contribute to the fiscus,” secretary for finance Willard Manungo said in a letter approving the new fees.

A recent government mining audit revealed that there were several individuals and mining houses holding claims for speculative purposes without doing anything to develop them.

Buttressing ties
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visits Zimbabwe on Thursday to buttress ties between the Asian powerhouse—which has solidly backed the Southern African nation battered by Western isolation—and Zimbabwe

Yang’s two-day visit is “to further consolidate bonds and friendships between our two peoples,” the Chinese embassy in Harare said.

He is expected to meet President Robert Mugabe and senior government officials, but the government has not revealed details of the meeting.

“We are confident that after Minister Yang’s visit, Sino-Zimbabwe relations will be uplifted to a higher level,” ambassador Xin Shunkang told journalists, when announcing Yang’s visit.

Yang’s visit comes weeks after Zimbabwe Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada announced plans by China Development Bank to fund investments worth $10-billion in Zimbabwe’s mining, agriculture and infrastructure sectors.

In 2010 China exported $159-million worth of goods to Zimbabwe, according to the national statistics agency.

Zimbabwe’s economy is recovering from a decade long political crisis that paralysed the economy and shut down industries. The crisis ended with a shaky powersharing government between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.—AFP

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