BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
ZIMBABWE’s small-scale miners have ratcheted pressure on local authorities to cut annual levies by up to US$13 750 to save operations that have been affected by COVID-19-induced lockdowns.
The miners on Monday said they were paying up to
US$14 000 a year in rural district council (RDC) levies, but want this slashed to US$250 in some cases to reduce costs of doing business.
Following the collapse of hundreds of formal mines in the past two decades, Zimbabwe relies on small-scale operators, estimated at 1,5 million to achieve an ambitious target set by government to transform the industry to a US$12 billion sector by 2023.
The mining industry currently generates about US$2 billion annually.
The majority of small-scale miners are in the gold mining sector.
In an interview with NewsDay Business, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) spokesman Dosman Mangisi said they were in the process of engaging RDCs to review levies downward, as miners felt they were prohibitive.
Mangisi said levies would be reviewed upwards if the economic situation improves.
The ZMF kicked off its campaign on March 29 with a letter to Umzingwane RDC requesting it to slash levies.
“We are hereby kindly requesting that you revisit the fees on a downward trend.
“The following are the proposals; small-scale mining $250, medium-scale-own milling $500 and custom milling $750,” the ZMF proposed.
“The basis of the request is due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has grossly affected the production by the small-to-medium-scale mining sector.
“Please note that we promise to revert to the initial fee structure in 2022 if the COVID-19 situation normalises.”
“We are engaging RDCs. We have already engaged Umzingwane where miners felt the fees that were being charged of around US$ 14 000 RDC levy were not fair.
“We are all doing this in view of the US$12 billion mining economy by 2023.
“The ZMF is on a marathon drive to turn around the gold sector,” Mangisi said.
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