Govt urged to revise mining fees downwards

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Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Council (ZASMC) has asked the government to revise its mining fees downwards and appealed to the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) to consolidate its charges to avoid distortions.

Tarisai Mandizha

This was revealed by ZASMC president Wellington Takavarasha when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy yesterday.

Takavarasha said the high fees levied by EMA, Rural District Councils (RDCs) and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development were hampering operations of small–scale miners.

“EMA must do away with solid waste, waste effluent and air pollution separate charges and must effect a fixed charge of
$1 000 per year across the board,” Takavarasha said.

He said RDC charges varied from area to area and there was no uniformity.

The small-scale miners are also expected to pay 2% presumptive tax, 3% royalty charges, 6% commission to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.

The miners wanted Ema to charge a maximum of $100 for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) licence renewal per year, 2% royalty charges and 1% presumptive tax.

He said currently EIA registration was costing $210, EIA review was $210, prospectus was $123 and was valid for only 20 days, while EIA consultants fee was $3 500 while  fines ranged between $200 and $5 000.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wild Life Management Authority was also charging
$4 000 per block and administrative charges for every entry.

Takavarasha called for scrapping of complicated EIA documents and replacing them with simplified documents.

He, however, said gold production from artisanal small scale miners had declined to 959 tonnes for the year ended December 31, 2013 due to unfavorable government policies.

“We would want issues addressed in line with the ZimAsset agenda.
Policies and regulations that are not discriminatory and discouraging by Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Rural Development Council, Environmental Management Authority and Parks and Wild Life,” Takavarasha said.

He said in in 2004, small scale miners produced 17 tonnes of the 29 tonnes of gold produced nationally while in 2005, they produced slightly less than 50% of the total 21 tonnes of the precious mineral.

Takavarasha said in 2006 and 2008 there was no production of gold due to the government’s “Operation Chikorokoza” Chapera.