March 30, 2012 / 11:14 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Zambia to phase out mine licence suspension

(Adds details)

* Mining rights applications start June 4

* Rights transfer applications start April 16

LUSAKA, March 30 (Reuters) - Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer, said on Friday it planned to phase out a suspension on the issuance of new mine licences that the new government of President Michael Sata imposed in October to root out corruption.

Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma said the issuance of all “non-mining rights” such as prospecting would resume with immediate effect as well as those for small-scale and artisinal mining, with the ban remaining on new permits for larger mining operations and mineral processing.

Yaluma said those who applied for mining rights before the suspension and are in possession of valid offer letters and those who did not collect their offer letters were invited to collect them and pay the prescribed fees by May 1.

“Commencing on April 2, receipt of applications for renewal of prospecting licence, small-scale mining licence, small-scale gemstone licence and artisans mining rights ... will start,” he said.

The ministry of mines would start receiving applications for the transfer of mining rights on April 16 and those for mining rights and mineral processing on June 4, he said.

“The audit and clean-up exercise may result in the cancellation of defaulting licences,” Yaluma said. (Reporting by Chris Mfula, editing by Ed Stoddard)

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