Artisanal miners lobby for lower levies

ZIMBABWE Miners’ Federation (ZMF) is lobbying government to reduce levies by more than 50% across the board to encourage growth in the sector.

Mthandazo Nyoni

Giving her overview of the sector at the 2018 ZMF small-scale mining conference held during Mine Entra last week, ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya said high mining fees were hindering the growth of small miners.

“We are engaging Ministry of Mines through our patron, the Minister of Mines, to have levies and fees revised downwards so that they are not inhibitive,” she said.

She suggested that custom milling licence should be reduced from $5 000 to $1 000; explosives reduced to $50 from $2 000; special grants registration from $1 000 to $2 000; prospecting fees from $200 to $50 and registration by 75% to $50.

Only 16% of small-miners were registered in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Regulations Act Chapter 21:05, Rushwaya said, as most cannot afford the levies required.

She said there was too much bureaucracy at the provincial mining district offices and that needed to be dealt with immediate effect.

“Ore movement permits are affordable but distance to offices hinders compliance. There is limited interaction between miners and the office except when problems have arisen. We recommend annual payments for ore transport costs,” the ZMF president said.

Rushwaya also noted that dispute resolution was taking too long, with some cases taking over two years before arbitration while interactions with the police were fertile grounds for corruption.

“Miners are arrested for issues like no helmet, the number of small scale miners at a claim, for having no fence or a mine manager and so on,” she said.

The biggest challenge, however, was that there “is not enough land for prospecting as the majority of land has already been taken by big mining conglomerates.”

In 2017, artisanal small-scale miners delivered 13,8 tonnes, surpassing primary producers of gold, who delivered 10 tonnes. So far this year, small-scale miners have produced 19,2 tonnes with large scale producers producing 9,2 tonnes.

Small-scale miners target to produce 25 tonnes this year.

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