Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
ARTISANAL miners have called for transparency in the allocation of mining claims saying the current system favours only the rich. The artisanal miners alleged that they are being elbowed out as they failed to register their claims because of the steep fees charged by the various Government departments.
Issuance of mining claims is a responsibility of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
However, artisanal miners want more say as they claim that most of the claims are being allocated to people from outside their regions because they have the financial muscle to process the required paperwork.
An artisanal miner from Bindura, Mr Samuel Midzi, said most of the beneficiaries came from outside regions and blocked locals after claiming title to the mining claims.
“Most of the beneficiaries, especially around Kitsiyatota minefields in Bindura, came from other provinces and used financial muscle to elbow out local artisanal miners.
‘‘I am not saying that only locals from the region should benefit but that the allocation system should be transparent,” said Mr Midzi.
He was speaking at a workshop for artisanal miners from Bindura and Penhalonga hosted by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance.
“Kitsiyatota was divided among those who had money and equipment at the expense of the local artisanal miners.
‘‘They brought generators and other mining equipment and took over the claims around Kitsiyatota. As artisanal miners we were pushed out because we do not have the equipment and the capital required to process claims. We hope the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will look into this,” he said.
The artisanal miners say the cost of licences was making it difficult for them to prospect and register mining claims.
In the 2016 National Budget statement, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa acknowledged that notwithstanding that Government has over the years reviewed mining fees and charges, some of the fees remain relatively high compared to those obtaining in the region, hence increasing costs, and an impediment to new investment.
“In order to encourage investment in prospecting and exploration activities and also enhance the viability of mining, a further review of selected mining fees and charges will be undertaken in consultation with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development by the first quarter of 2016,” said Minister Chinamasa.
He said that miners also face additional fees and charges to other Government agencies that include the Environmental Management Agency, the Radiation Protection Authority, as well as the Rural District Councils.
“All such fees and charges will be rationalised in the context of the proposed new mining fiscal regime,” he said.