President Emmerson Mnangagwa Wednesday said government was not going to allow white foreigners to continue looting the country’s mineral resources.
He was addressing delegates to a Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Annual General Meeting attended mostly by small scale miners in Gweru.
Mnangagwa said his government was working on creating a legal environment which will not see mineral resources being spirited out of the country by whites.
“We have heard from the Zimbabwe Miners Federation leadership that we are having mineral leakages through our border posts.
“I was told that we have people who come from outside the country and bribe our officials with little money so that they can smuggle the minerals outside the country.
“It’s not proper for us to have such a situation,” he said.
Mnangagwa vowed to enact laws that would ensure white foreigners had no easy access to the country’s mineral wealth.
“During colonialism, the whites looted our mineral resources. We are now independent, and I am hearing that they are still siphoning out our mineral resources right under our nose.
“I wasn’t aware of such a situation. There is need to come up with laws which will curb such leakages,” Mnangagwa said.
The President said government has been repossessing idle mine claims which were being held for speculative purposes.
He further said cuts were going to be effected on claims which were left idle.
“I have been made aware that there are still some big companies which still do have idle mining claims which are under-utilised,” Mnangagwa said.
“They are holding those mines for speculative purposes.
“It has been brought to our attention that we still have many such places and I am advising the small scale miners’ leadership that if you identify or know such places, you have to notify the Mines Ministry so that it will look into such issues.
“We have gathered that some companies have 1 000-year leases for the claims. When will they utilise them?
“We will take those claims which are underutilised and give them to deserving individuals.”
In his address, Mnangagwa said his government will work with external investors in the mineral sector who are compliant with the country’s laws.
“We want prospective investors who are compliant with the country’s laws. Investors who will be able to uplift the lives of our people.
“… We have our rich mineral resources. They don’t lose value. We will keep them and work with people who will help in our vision,” he said.