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Zimbabwe sets up state mineral exploration company

Zimbabwe said Monday it was setting up a state mineral exploration company to identify and value all the country’s mineral resources.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said the move was intended to allow the country to kn ow its mineral wealth, instead of depending on private companies, most of them foreign, to advise the government on such a c ritical issue.

He said the government was also reviewing the country’s mining laws to provide f or local ownership, repealing previous provisions that allowed total private ownership of mine claims.

”The exploration company will be mandated to undertake exploration work on all mineral deposits. The company is expected to provide a detailed report on the types of mineral and quantum of each mineral fo und in Zimbabwe,” he said.

”As government, we believe that the surest way to value our aggregate mineral w orthiness is through a comprehensive exploration process. The absence of extensive exploration work over the past decades has per petuated a situation where most of the local underground minerals remain inferred resources,” Mpofu said.

The government has told foreign mining companies to give up 51 percent sharehold ing in their ventures in Zimbabwe to locals as part of a new economic empowerment programme.

The requirement has attracted controversy, and most foreign mining companies are resisting the government demands.

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