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Zimbabwe to Seize Unused Mining Permits After Three Years

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe plans to seize mining permits that aren’t being used, forcing license holders to forfeit land as the government seeks to increase state revenue from the country’s natural-resource wealth.

Zimbabwe will enforce the “use-it-or-lose-it” principle with respect to mining companies’ land, according to a copy of the Finance Bill 2014 obtained by Bloomberg News. Any unworked land will be transferred to the state after three years.

“This will offer new entrants the opportunity to access unutilized claims,” the bill states.

Zimbabwe, with reserves of platinum, chrome, coal, iron ore and gold, is seeking to keep more mining revenue inside the country. Investors have already seen their holdings reduced by a law compelling foreign and white-owned companies to sell or cede half of their local assets to black Zimbabweans or the state.

The Finance Bill will be debated in parliament next month and, if passed, will result in amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act. Mines Minister Walter Chidakwa, appointed in September after President Robert Mugabe won elections in July, said in November that he planned a law that could force companies to use exploration concessions or face losing them.

“We are forever interacting with government and at the moment our government is accommodating,” Herbert Mashanyare, president of the Platinum Producers Association of Zimbabwe, said today in an interview in Harare. “As an industry, we will always alert them to our concerns and aspirations.”

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Anglo American Plc’s platinum unit are among companies operating in the southern African country.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Harare at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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