Govt to computerise register of mining

05 Apr, 2024 - 22:04 0 Views
Govt to computerise register of mining Minister Soda Zhemu

eBusiness Weekly

Business Writer

THE Government has crafted a Bill that will introduce computerisation of Zimbabwe’s register of mining rights and titles as the country seeks to improve administration of these records and avoid double title allocations.

The country is migrating from a manual system to automation of the computerised mining cadastre information system, starting with Manicaland province, where a pilot project will be launched soon.

Speaking on the phone last week, Mines and Mining Development Minister Zhemu Soda said the Bill to introduce the mining cadastre system will soon be gazetted and introduced to Parliament after which public hearings will be held across the country.

“There is some progress on the establishment of that mining cadastre system, but it will be introduced by the Bill that will soon be coming to Parliament. It is that Bill which is going to introduce the mining cadastre system.

“You might be aware that at the moment our Act does not recognise the GPS-based coordinates and for a mining site to be allocated, we use some maps which are drawn.

“So, this is the kind of transformation that we would want to come up with to migrate from the manual system into a mining information-based system which is computerised.

“It is that Bill which will introduce the mining cadastre system and will then migrate from the manual system to the computer-based system,” he said.

“In a few weeks, we hope it will be gazetted for it to be introduced to Parliament and then the processes will commence, beginning with consultations with the people.

“The committee on Mines and Mining Development will go around the country to consult on the provisions that are contained in the Bill.

“Once we have the Bill approved to be the new law, it will speak of the mining cadastre system and use of coordinates. There is no way we will continue to be on the manual system, but what might take a bit of time will be the migration from the current system to the new system as variety of tests need to be conducted.”

Minister Soda said Manicaland province, which is leading in rolling out the mining cadastre system, was about 90 percent in terms of the work that will be used as a pilot project, while other provinces will also be installing the new mining information management system.

“After Manicaland, that is when we will go to some other provinces, but that does not mean that there is nothing happening in other provinces. There is much in terms of capturing of information.”

He said the absence of the mining cadastre system has in the past seen disputes erupting over double allocation of mining titles, but this would be a thing of the past through the computerised system.

“Obviously, because of the current manual system, there are some delays in the issuance of some registration to our people in as much as we are calling them to conform to the requirements where a miner must be registered.

“We also have issues of overlapping, for instance. You issue a mining title today and probably after some time, you realise that the title that was issued was overlapping onto an existing mine.

“It also results in some disputes that become an inconvenience to an investor, especially at a time when you will be trying to correct one of the titles.

“And the only way to correct this would be to cancel one of the titles if you have done a double allocation, so those are some of the major challenges that we are facing with our manual system and it’s also prone to tampering.

“People can tamper with that system and it can be deliberate, but when we have moved to a computer-based system, obviously, you cannot tamper with the system,” said Minister Soda.

The Zimbabwe Miners Federation is on record saying the coming on board of the mining cadastre system would go a long way in addressing disputes that have existed over mining titles due to double or multiple allocations.

Some of the disputes have spilled into the courts, thus negatively delaying investment and production processes within the mining sector.

The mining industry is one of Zimbabwe’s major economic mainstays, accounting for more than 75 percent of foreign exchange earnings generated by the country, as well as contributing significantly to the Government’s revenue, employment and infrastructure development.

The country has more than 60 extractable mineral deposits. However, less than 10 are presently being commercially exploited.

Soon after the Second Republic came into power in November 2017, President Mnangagwa declared that “Zimbabwe is open for business”, which has seen investors from around the world scrambling for investment opportunities in the country in various sectors, particularly mining, where a number of projects were being rolled out.

For instance, in the gold sub-sector, Eureka Gold Mine in Guruve was reopened in 2021, having been dormant for over a decade due to the operational challenges it faced. In the lithium sub-sector, new mines such as the Sabi Star Lithium Mine in Buhera district, Manicaland province, has been reopened while a number of other mines have come on board.

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