BY RICHARD MUPONDE
THE chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, Edmond Mkaratigwa yesterday decried delays by the Mines and Mining Development ministry to issue mining certificates which he said was fuelling bloody mining conflicts and mineral leakages.
Mkaratigwa (Shurugwi South MP) told NewsDay that the delays had also resulted in an outbreak of violence in mineral-rich areas by machete gangs who have been causing havoc for the past two years.
A recent report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project revealed that over 100 people were killed due to machete gang violence at mines.
Mkaratigwa said there are several loopholes in the Mines and Minerals Act, which needed to be rectified, including ensuring that there is proper pegging of mines and issuance of mining certificates to miners.
“This also leads to unguaranteed ownership with negative effects on our main thrust of productivity. We have advocated at every platform for computerisation of the Mining Cadastre System in Zimbabwe and we have achieved positive responses towards that, while we remain relentless on it. The Cadastre System is identified as one of the solutions to the certification problem and this issue was included in the 2020 national budget statement,” Mkaratigwa said.
“The President (Emmerson Mnangagwa recently reiterated government’s commitment to have the projects funded. The main challenge has been around mobilisation of the foreign currency component, which is partly needed for the cadastre system project. The other problem that has been impinging the Mines ministry’s service delivery is understaffing,” he said.
Mkaratigwa said there was need for the ministry to get enough resources to ensure its efficiency in dealing with problems in the mining sector.
“We have also advocated for more decentralisation models for the Mines ministry so that it decentralises into other districts that previously had no offices. The main pragmatic solution, however, lies in the recruitment of more staff,” he said.
Zimbabwe is endowed with vast mineral resources. However, Mkaratigwa said the country was still under-explored, a situation which could hinder the mining industry from achieving the US$12 billion investment target by 2023.
“The challenge is the nature of our miners, especially small-scale miners. They lack exploration resources, and they also usually gather where others are already mining. Sometimes they go closer to residential areas where minerals are closer to the surface.
“In addition, a few people are holding exclusive prospecting orders and are underutilising them for speculative purposes. As a result they deny access to those with an immediate need for using them,” he said.
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