The mining sector in Zimbabwe is arguably the backbone of the economy and carries opportunities and considerable returns in so far as foreign direct investment is concerned. This is coupled with the ever increasing strategic emergence of base metals on the global mining index.
Below we provide an update on the latest legislation regulating the export of base mineral ores.
Export of Base Mineral Ores
On the 6th of January 2023 the Minister of Mines and Mining Development in Zimbabwe issued an order prohibiting the export of unprocessed raw base mineral ores. It is known as the Base Minerals Export Control (Unbeneficiated Base Mineral Ores) Order, 2023 (the “Order”).
The Order defines Base minerals as coal and all other minerals and mineral substances, including coke, slimes, concentrates, slags, tailings and residues as are valuable and contain base minerals. This definition does not include precious metals, precious stones, mineral oils, and natural gases.
Ore is defined as all forms of minerals or mineral aggregates which in the abstract are of economic value.
The Order states that no unbeneficiated base mineral ores shall be exported from Zimbabwe except under written permit of the Minister given under one of two circumstances outlined below:
- when the applicant produces compelling reasons showing that no such ore is capable of being beneficiated within Zimbabwe, or
- when the applicant produces satisfactory proof that the assay of the ore cannot be satisfactorily done in Zimbabwe and that the quantity to be exported for that purpose is necessary for that purpose.
The Order also repeals the Base Minerals Export Control (Unbeneficiated Lithium Bearing Ores) Order, 2022. However, any permits issued under the repealed order remain valid.
Finally, the Order states that anyone who fails to comply with any order or with the terms and conditions of any permit issued to them under an order shall be guilty of an offence and will be liable to pay twice the value of the base minerals or face imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.
The Order seeks to improve beneficiation in the mining value chain and ancillary services, thereby creating employment and improving the local fiscus. How the market will adjust to these changes remains to be seen. We however expect to see an increase in beneficiation accompanied by a fast adjustment to these changes by large mining companies.