The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development yesterday came under fire from the Chamber of Mines and small-scale miners for hiking mining and exploration fees.
Government last month introduced new mining fees ranging between $3 000 and $5 million, saying this was to ensure serious miners remained in the sector.
The miners appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to make presentations on the fees review.
Alan Mashingaidze, the second vice-president of the Chamber of Mines, said the move would discourage investors and halt exploration of minerals.
Mashingaidze said the fees were also unlawful as they were against provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act and were 5 000% higher than what was charged in other countries.
“The charges are so high that they take away the mining game from indigenous players and we will not be able to pay the fees at this critical stage,” Mashingaidze said.
“The statutory instrument provides for application fees of $3 000, which is 10 times what other countries are charging given that there is already a burden on miners arising from imposition of other mining fees such as royalties, charges by EMA (Environmental Management Agency), rural district council fees and others,” he said.
He said mining companies would end up having 60% of their revenue going towards charges by government.
Chamber of Mines chief executive officer John Chikombero said the fees contravened mining regulations because the $1 000 charge for prospecting licences were not provided for in the law.
“The $5 million diamond application fee is not provided for in the law,” said Chikombero.
Small-scale miners represented by Wellington Takavarasha said the new fees would scare away investors.