Zimbabwe is endowed with vast mineral resources which can make a significant contribution to the GDP of the country. Amongst the mineral resources found in the country are diamonds, gold and platinum and theses resources need to be properly managed for them to benefit the country through revenue and also creation of opportunities in the country. This means that the existence of vast mineral resources has numerous direct and indirect benefits which have to be utilised fully. The management of the extractives industry in the country requires proper administration and such administration is mandated to the President, in whom all minerals in the country are vested, the Minister of mines and mineral development, the Mining affairs Board and Mining Commissioner(s).
The nature of mineral resources requires that all the parties involved in the administration thereof play their roles. Mineral resources are finite and cannot be left to be underground for extended periods as this can lead to sterility. Such a position has led to the government to consider implement the “use it or lose it” policy which in simple terms means that a holder of a mineral claim should exploit it or risk losing it. This study therefore sought to consider the implications of enforcing the policy in the country. This was done by firstly discussing how someone can obtain a limited real right to a mining location to exploit the minerals and this was achieved by looking at the pertinent provisions in the Mines and minerals Act dealing with the grant of licences. The writer thereafter discussed the provisions containing the “use it or lose it” policy to ascertain what the Act stipulates and how it can be enforced. Licences amount to a limited real right and expropriation, the effect of enforcing the policy leads to a violation of property rights which are sought to be protected by the Constitution of the country.
A discussion of these provisions and the effect thereof proved that a holder of a right under the Act to exploit minerals would have his right prematurely terminated if he was not working the mining location or was not developing his location. An investigation would need to be done to ascertain the circumstances and the Board will make a recommendation to the President who makes a final decision on expropriation. Compensation following expropriation is not always guaranteed but the Act does not explain how this decision is made and an aggrieved party has recourse to the court system. The writer raised concerns on the violation of property rights in the process when the government is exercising its powers for the benefit of the public.
The implementation of the policy is valid but issues of security of tenure are obviously raised and this does not paint a good picture on the government. One must always remember the violent land grab once implemented by the same government. Transparency together with equal and fair treatment was therefore recommended by the writer and a need to have shared responsibility in the decision making to avoid politicised decisions. The writer further recommended that the court system should not be influenced by the powers that be when a decision is being made pertaining the expropriation; the rule of law should therefore be protected.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2019.