MP calls for radical mining reforms

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Water minister Saviour Kasukuwere has a laugh during the opening of parliament.

Zanu PF legislator Dextor Nduna (Chegutu West) on Tuesday called for a mining reform programme along the lines of the land reform programme to be introduced to remove claim holders that are doing nothing on their mining claims.

by VENERANDA LANGA

Nduna said the radical changes would help formalise artisanal miners (makorokoza).

He was contributing to debate in the National Assembly on a motion on the first report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on the state of affairs in the gold sector.

“We need to put small-scale mining or mining by artisanal miners in the same league with the land reform programme,” Nduna said.

“We need to make sure that we have got a mining reform programme where we then go and take mining claims that are lying idle and not only engage in mining using tributes, but to also get those mines reclaimed and given to the small-scale miners for good.”

Nduna said in his constituency alone, there were more than 3 500 artisanal miners at Pickstone Mine working on claims owned by African Consolidated Resources (ACR).

He alleged artisanal miners circumvented the system in order not to be brought to account for the gold ACR was exploiting in ward 25 of Chegutu West.
“These people that have been holding on to claims for speculative purposes should allow small-scale miners,” he said.

Nduna said for the past two months that artisanal miners have been operating in ward 25, they submitted more than two and a half kilogrammes of gold to Fidelity Printers.

He said ACR had not surrendered such quantities of gold in the past 10 years that they operated in that area, claiming that they were doing exploration.

Meanwhile, the committee report that was presented in the National Assembly by Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee chairman Lovemore Matuke said there was need for government to protect women and children in mining.

“Zimbabwe Artisanal Small-scale Mining Council estimated that there are over 500 000 artisanal and small-scale miners, 30% of whom are women and children,” the committee said.

“Their challenges included inaccessibility of financial resources, inadequate geological information, stigmatisation and criminalisation of their operations, policy inconsistencies, disputes between farmers and miners, taxes and levies, victimisation of women miners and engagement of child labour.”