HomeNewsGovt moots doling out licences to gold panners

Govt moots doling out licences to gold panners

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MINES and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu said the government was considering granting free gold claims to panners because of their contribution towards national gold output.

By Our Staff Reporter

Speaking at a Zanu PF campaign rally in Inyathi, Bubi district, Mpofu said he would soon hold a meeting with panners in Gwanda to discuss their problems and ways of working together.

“We are working on a legislation that would allow the small-scale miners to contribute gold to the government with no hassles. We are actually considering giving them licences for free, as long as they take the gold to the government,” Mpofu said.

“The small-scale miners last year contributed significant amounts of gold to the government compared to big gold mining organisations. We talked about the need to allow the so-called panners to be permitted to trade in gold freely at the launch of the Gwanda Community Share Ownership Trust Scheme and the President (Robert Mugabe) was there.”

Mpofu, who described gold panners as the country’s economic heroes, urged them to organise themselves so that they could benefit from equipment processed by his ministry.

“There is equipment in Bulawayo meant for small-scale miners, so you need to organise yourselves and form groups so that you benefit from those things. Some of you have already benefited,” he said.

Last month, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the government was working on new legislation which would ensure all arrested gold panners were released, as Zimbabweans could not be tormented for extracting minerals in their own country.

“How can we send our own people to prison for mining gold in their own country?” asked Kasukuwere. “If King Lobengula and Munhumutapa wore gold rings and bangles, why should we criminalise gold today and arrest our own people while we allow big companies to loot our minerals?”

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