THE Gold Miners’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has appealed to government to review the fees for special grants in reserved mining areas and prospectus licences, saying the current charges were out of reach of many small-scale miners.
Speaking at the Institute for Sustainability Africa (INSAF) mining business engagement dialogue in Harare on Friday, GMAZ secretary-general Clemence Makanya said small-scale miners were not spared by the current economic challenges in Zimbabwe, but were trying their best to grow their operations.
“For the reserved areas, we are asked to pay $5 000 for a special grant, but to start off a prospectus, it’s going for $250 and this is already too high,” Makanya said.
He said after paying $5 000 to register, consultants were charging between $2 000 to $3 000 an amount hampering production.
Makanya said there were also challenges with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in that the latter was charging the small-scale miners the same way they charged well-established mining companies like Freda Rebecca.
“Please EMA, can you revise your charges. Even the penalties being charged of about $5 000, there is need to revise them,” he said.
He added that the other challenge was with Fidelity Printers and Refineries which was currently offering low prices when buying gold, resulting in many small-scale miners opting to continue selling to unregistered buyers.
“Fidelity Printers and Refineries are charging between $30 and $32 per gramme. It’s too little after walking 20 kilometres, and after taking off the charge for the milling expenses, one is left with nothing. We would want government to look at those things and this would help us grow,” he said.
EMA manager Debra Magwada said government had put in place consultancy after realising that many small-scale miners were being short-changed.
“EMA consultants were put in place as a result that a lot of people were losing money from people who claimed to be consultants and in order to stop that, the legislator [government] decided to protect the small-scale miners. But maybe going forward, there is need to regulate the fees being charged by consultants,” Magwanda said.
She said the charges for the Environmental Impact Assessment fees were already regulated and the $210 was the minimum fee.