Monday, May 06, 2013

(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE, BLOOMBERG) State to market minerals, in new proposals
06/05/2013 00:00:00
by Bloomberg

COMMENT - This is an excellent development. All natural resources in Africa and around the world should be sold to and by the State, so there is no smuggling, tax evasion, and invalidates all the tricks of the likes of Glencore (see elsewhere on this blog). - MrK

ZIMBABWE is considering auctioning mineral deposits, restricting production of commodities deemed strategic and having the state sell the output from all mines, according to a draft policy document.

The proposals are made in a minerals policy prepared by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals, which is yet to be released publicly. The ministry will start discussing the policy with the mining industry on Tuesday, Prince Mupazviriho, permanent secretary for mines, said on Friday, declining to comment on the contents of the draft.

The country needs “an open, transparent and competitive auction procedure for known mineral deposits,” the ministry says in the policy.

“The State of Zimbabwe reserves the right to market the people’s mineral assets, but undertakes to recompense the miner at fair and transparent market prices for mineral exports.”

Miners including Impala Platinum, and Rio Tinto Group are currently free to market their own minerals.

The policy comes after companies including Impala and Anglo American Platinum agreed to comply with an existing law to cede 51 percent stakes in their local assets to black Zimbabweans or the government.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest platinum and chrome deposits after South Africa as well as deposits of coal, gold, diamonds and iron ore.

If implemented the marketing policy will be a reversal of an earlier liberalization of mineral sales, which formerly had been undertaken by the Minerals Marketing Corp. of Zimbabwe and, in the case of gold, a unit of the central bank.

Under the proposal gold and platinum group metals will be sold by a dealer authorized by the Ministry of Finance and all other minerals will be sold by the MMCZ.

In addition to the changes to the marketing of minerals the ministry is proposing auctions of deposits as well as imposing new taxes, the policy shows.

A resource rent tax, defined as a tax on profits in excess of an average national return on investment, is proposed to replace the current additional profits tax. An export tax may also be imposed to encourage local processing of minerals, according to the policy.

“The current free mining colonial mineral regime is inappropriate for using national mineral assets to underpin wider development and industrialization,” the ministry said in the policy.

Mining licenses will be awarded for a maximum of 25 years and minerals including iron ore, coal, copper and limestone may be deemed strategic, meaning that their output can be restricted and their prices of the minerals regulated, the ministry said.

Another state company, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp., may be tasked with producing some minerals to supply industries and given a three-month period to assess new, state- financed geological data to decide whether to develop mines.

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