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Miners blast Govt

Addressing the chamber’s AGM on Friday, Gapare said miners had over the past two years engaged government on the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy.

But none of its views and those of other stakeholders were taken on board in the current controversial indigenisation programme where foreign miners were being forced to cede their majority shareholding to locals.
“We then ask government why then consult if you are not prepared to listen or even adopt some of the recommendations proffered by those you claim to be consulting,” he said.

Gapare said the chamber had proposed an equity quota of 26% with the balance coming from credits emanating from social responsibility activities, local procurement, skills development and release of minerals rights.

“Despite these proposals, government appointed a mining sector committee — from which I was fired by the minister and his colleagues — to recommend an appropriate score for mining,” he said.

He said the committee had recommended 26% equity, 15% credits and a tax of 10% for those not willing to increase their equity by a similar margin.
Gapare said the Chamber of Mines was surprised by the gazetting of General Notice 114 of March 25 2011 which required mining companies to file a plan within 45 days and implement the plan for the disposal of 51% to mostly state entities within six months.

“This notice set several capital raising initiatives back and saw listed Zimbabwe-focused operations like New Dawn and Zimplats losing between 30% and 40% of their market value immediately,” he said.

He said several legal problems created by the gazette were made known to government and the chamber looked forward to the resolution of the issues for true empowerment to be achieved.

“Our view has always been that focus should be on value rather than just 51% equity.

“Rather focus on the value of the equity instead of just the 51% shareholding in a company.

“We should also concentrate on creating new business thus growing the industry rather than just sharing the existing mines,” Gapare said.
He said the chamber was of the firm view that credits should be allowed and that most communities want to see mining companies carry out social responsibility activities, which benefit them directly.

“In President Mugabe’s speech at the 71st AGM held last year at this venue, he indicated that credits would be accepted for the mining sector given the capital intensive nature of the industry as well as the need to make the programme broad based,” he said.

The chamber suggested that Zimbabwe should follow principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) where there is transparency and cooperation between the mining company, the community and government on the community initiatives, the funding of the initiatives and the revenues of the mining company.

“Local procurement does offer significant opportunities for indigenisation.

“Partnerships with small scale miners will create new enterprises contributing to the development of the industry and Zimbabwe in general,” Gapare said.
Meanwhile, Mimosa mines MD Winston Chitando was elected the new Chamber of Mines president taking over from Gapare.
Zimplats CEO Alex Mhembere and Metallon Gold COO Allen Mashingaidze we elected first and second vice presidents respectively.

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