30 000 artisanal miners register to regularise operations

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Artisanal miners digging for diamonds in Marange

ONLY 30 000 of the estimated 1,5 million artisanal and small-scale miners have regularised their operations owing to high levies charged by government, Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya said last week at a mid-term review hosted by the Mines ministry in Kariba.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Miners are required to pay $200 for prospecting and another $200 for registration fees, and most artisanal miners said they were comfortable with a fee of around $50.

“The levies and charges by the Ministry of Mines are still too high,” Rushwaya said.

“Both prospecting and registration require $200 each and these are expensive and should be reviewed downwards. Consequently, only 16% have complied with 30 000 registered miners against 1,5 million artisanal and small-scale miners that are unregistered. As a federation, we suggest amounts of $50 for these levies and charges,” she said.

Rushwaya said artisanal and small-scale miners could not afford the costs of explosives that are pegged at $1 000 on the parallel market.

She also called for the revision of Environmental Management Agency (EMA) regulations in order to reduce the costs of obtaining Environmental Impact Assessment certificates (EIAs).

In 2016, EMA reduced the costs of EIA certificates. They used to charge 1,5% of the project cost as EIA certificate fees.

However, they said the EIA fees will now be based on a “sliding scale”, with small impact projects paying a fee of $210, moderate impact projects paying 0,8% of project cost, while high impact projects would pay 1%, and extremely high impact projects paying 1,2% of the total project cost.

“EMA has designed a new operational guideline for the small-scale miners and where they used to pay consultants an average of $5 000 to get EIAs, they no longer pay such consultancy,” she said.

Rushwaya said despite the numerous challenges faced by small-scale miners, they continued to produce more gold than the large-scale miners. She said in the first quarter of this year, they produced 65% of the 2,8 tonnes of the yellow metal.