Shock over Zimbabwe’s licence fee regime

[] — THE chairman of Zimbabwe’s parliamentary Committee
on Mining and Energy, Edward Chindori-Chininga, has criticised the country’s
proposed hike in mining licence fees, saying these payments were not supposed to
be “revenue-generating instruments’.

This came after state media reported on Wednesday that application fees for
ordinary platinum prospecting licences would be hiked to $500,000 from $150, while
the registration fee for platinum miners was set at $2.5m from $300. Gold buyers
would be required to pay double the previous fee of $2,500.

In addition, ground rentals fees are set to rise from $10 per five claims to $1,000 per
hectare each year.

Prospecting fees for diamond mining would remain pegged at $1m, although there is,
according to mining ministry sources, the possibility of a new $5m non-refundable
registration fee being introduced.

An official from the country’s Chamber of Mines said “mining companies are disturbed
as they already have numerous challenges’.

Zimbabwe’s Mines and Mining Development Minister, Obert Mpofu, was not
immediately available for comment. He previously said mining companies should
“understand that, as government, we need to get revenue from the exploitation [of
resources in the country]’.

Meanwhile, gold miners Caledonia Mining and New Dawn Mining were confident about
their prospects for 2012.

Caledonia said it expected to produce 40,000 ounces of gold this year, after raising
2011 fourth-quarter output to 10,533 ounces; a significant 8.1% increase on the
previous three months and a 69% rise on a year earlier.

“We are now confident that we will be able to achieve our targeted gold production
of 40,000 ounces for the current financial year,’ the company said.

New Dawn Mining is equally optimistic, projecting it would produce about 60,000
ounces of gold by the end of 2012 and 100,000 ounces by 2014.

“We believe the mining sector will grow by more than 8% a year over our forecast
period to 2015,’ said analysts at BMI in a research note. The report adds, however,
that “there could be renewed weakness in mining sector output’ on the back of a
raft of worries for mining investors.