Zimbabwe to ban new foreign miners

 

Zimbabwe has announced that it will not issue any new mining licences to foreign miners.

This comes just months after the country announced that it would dramatically increase mining licences fees, by up to 5000% in some instances.

Registration of diamond claims have increased from $US1 million to $US5 million, while application fees for coal investors have risen from $US5000 to $US100 000.

The platinum industry has seen some of the biggest hikes, with application fees rising from $US200 to $US500 000.

The Zimbabwe Government said its decision to raise prices was designed to curb speculative activity in the country's mining sector.

It also follows the country's partial nationalisation of foreign owned mines, where it also threatened to kick companies out of the country unless they handed over a minimum of 51% control to the Zimbabwean Government.

Now it has banned new foreign miners from operating in the country and 'exploiting Zimbabwe's mineral wealth," according to The Financial Times.

Late last week Zimbabwean president Robert Mugagbe stated that "what we should do in a much more massive way is to organise our people, put them together, our ­geologists, mining engineers.

"Let them form companies so that we don’t need foreigners…as no new foreign companies will be licensed."

“Can’t we dig our own gold, we can borrow on the strength of the minerals.”"

Mugagbe went on to say that the amount that foreign miners still hold, up to 49% in some cases, was still too much.

"This 49 per cent is a whole lot of money."

A recent diamond discovery in the country has also driven this latest announcement, the Zimbabwe Situation reports.

http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun17_2012.html#Z8

Mugagbe said "no foreign miners will be allowed to exploit these latest discoveries".

Earlier this year, Rio Tinto was forced to cede control of 51% of its Murowa diamond mine, as was Zimplats Holdings, and Anglo Platinum.

Now the government is also trying to force Zimplants to completely hand over its operations and what Zimbabwean mines minister Obert Mpofu calls "idle platinum deposits".

Mpofu reportedly said the miner was holding more than half of the country's Great Dyke platinum group metals deposit and stopping investors from developing them.

Zimplats says that it handed over a huge portion of its PGM holdings to the Zimbabwean regime a few years ago, but since then nothing has been done to it.

However a former head of the Zimbabwean Chamber of mines believes that the nationalisation of foreign operators in the country has massively harmed the African nation's economy, costing it around $4 billion in foreign investments.

Within the Zimbabwean Government there is also a backlash against the continuing regime moves.

Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai slammed Mugagbe's land grabs, stating that it would discourage further investment.

Tsvangirai went on to call the new law “looting and plunder by a greedy elite”.

He more recently added that the most recent only benefits those already wealthy.

The local ownership rule officially became a law in 2008.

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