Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers his speech during the burial of former Chief Justice and national hero Godfrey Chidyausiku at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 13, 2017. Godfrey Chidyausiku was the country's first black Chief Justice and was declared a national hero after he died in South Africa after a kidney failure. (Xinhua)
Harare - Zimbabwe's newly announced policy to take over unused mineral claims from mining firms in the country will deter investment in its lucrative mineral resources industry, mining executives say.

The concerns come after the government issued the “implementation of the use it or lose it policy on mining claims” policy document during a mining indaba at the Victoria Falls on Friday,

The document said large mining companies in Zimbabwe were “sitting on idle claims” that could be taken over by the government and given to new investors.

“Mines usually do not exploit all claims and this is for the reasons of further exploratory work and for extending the life of mining projects. Having to utilise all claims will stretch miners at this time when the industry is yet to fully recover from the commodity prices downturn,” an executive who attended the mining indaba on Friday told Business Report yesterday.

Authorities believe that the mining industry would generate as much as $3 billion (R39.6 billion) in revenue this year, 75 percent of which would have to be spent locally in line with indigenisation policies.

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Affected miners are Metallon Corporation, Impala Platinum, Anglo Platinum, Sibanye Gold and Asa Resources.

Earnings from mineral shipments for the four-month period to May 12 jumped 27 percent to $852.6 million compared to the same period last year, official figures released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe showed.

Gold and platinum were expected to be the major contributors to the 5.1 percent mining sector rebound projected for this year.

During the period, $333.5 million was realised in platinum sales, a significant jump from the $282 million recorded last year on the back of an increase in output, boosted by expansionary and production recovery projects at Mimosa and Zimplats, respectively.

Toindepi Muganyi, a senior mining executive in Zimbabwe, said the government needed to ease pressure on the industry such as high power tariffs and a fiscal regime that discouraged investment and growth.

Muganyi said exploration activity in the industry was on the back-burner.

“There is a need for a review of the fiscal framework. The industry has a low level of formal mineral exploration,” he said.