CONFEDERATION of Zimbabwe Miners (CZM) president Rangani Chauke has called on government to urgently regularise the operations of artisanal miners to avoid disasters and integrate the sector into the mainstream economy.
By Stephen Chadenga
Chauke’s call came in the wake of a rise in the number of fatal accidents involving gold panners in disused mines shafts.
Cases of trapped artisanal miners were on the rise with 30 illegal miners feared dead after a shaft from which they were panning gave in at Ran Mine in Bindura recently.
“As miners’ bodies, we have always reiterated that the formalisation of artisanal miners is a matter of urgency to avoid the unnecessary loss of lives,” Chauke said in an interview yesterday.
“Regularisation of the sector would not only improve safety of miners, but would decriminalise the activity.
“That is why we have always said the Mines and Minerals Bill should address the formalisation of the sector.”
He said, despite contributing immensely to gold production in the country, artisanal mining continued to be a dangerous enterprise claiming many lives every year.
Chauke said there was need to bring legality and stability to the sector to avoid negative consequences associated with artisanal mining.
“There is need for laws and support from government on the legal and policy frameworks that ensure safety and good standards in the formalisation process,” he said.
CZM is an association of small-scale-miners.
In recent years, artisanal miners have resorted to mining in decommissioned mine shafts. Government continues to dither on plans to regularise artisanal mining.