ZIMBABWE has slashed mining and prospecting fees, handing energy and precious mineral producers some reprieve, a government notice showed on Friday, in a response to warnings that high charges would bankrupt the sector.
The levies, which range from prospecting licences, application and registration fees as well as ground rentals, went up by as much as 5 000% in January 2012, making the country one of the most expensive countries to mine, with an estimated 60% of every dollar earned in revenue going to government.
Industry players estimated the increase in fees could cost the sector, which requires about $5 billion to operate at full capacity, up to $1 billion annually.
Mining has overtaken agriculture as the leading export earner, with mineral earnings of $1,97 billion in 2013 making up 64% of total foreign currency earnings.
According to the latest regulations published on Friday, although diamond application and renewal fees remain at $1 million, gem miners now do not have to pay a $5 million registration fee, as was previously the case.
Annual ground rentals for diamonds have been pegged at $3 000 per hectare down from $5 million previously.
Application fees for ordinary platinum prospecting licences now stand at $500, from $500 000 previously, while special licences for the white metal remain at $500 000. Platinum ground rental per five claims also remain at $1 000 per hectare. The registration fee for a platinum special block is now $750 000, down from $2,5 million.
With Zimbabwe battling a growing electricity deficit, the government appears to have made significant licensing concessions for energy minerals. Application fees for coal and coalbed methane gas have been cut by 90%, to $10 000, while registration fees for these energy minerals are now $100 000, from $500 000 previously.
Annual ground rentals for coal, coal bed methane gas and other related energy sources are now $10 per hectare, down from $100.
The government has also reduced prospecting fees by as much as 20%.
Three-month export permit fees for all minerals, expect diamonds, remain the same. Gold buying and custom milling licence fees also remain unchanged, at $5 000 and $8 000, respectively.
— The Source