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HARARE, June 1 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s parliament has passed amendments to the mining bill after removing clauses that required foreign mining companies to list locally, according to an official record of parliament’s debates seen on Friday.
Mines Minister Winston Chitando had last month promised to remove the requirements, which he said caused panic among foreign mining firms and were contrary to the government’s push to open Zimbabwe to foreign investors.
The southern African nation has seen increased interest from foreign investors since the downfall of Robert Mugabe in a de facto military coup in November.
The amendments to the mining bill, which were passed on Thursday, also allow the mines minister, after consulting with the president, to designate any mineral as strategic if “it would be in the interests of the development of the mining industry.”
Designating a mineral as strategic would grant the government greater control over mining of that mineral.
Mining accounts for more than half of Zimbabwe’s export earnings but investors had stayed away from the country, partly because of opaque black economic empowerment rules.
The mining bill will also for the first time officially recognise small-scale miners, who produce more than 40 percent of Zimbabwe’s gold output, meaning that their operations will no longer be considered illegal. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Alexander Winning/David Evans)