|Amend Mining Act to legalise gold panning, says Mpofu|
|Monday, 16 July 2012 15:17|
MINES and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu says the Mining Act should be amended as a matter of urgency to legalise gold panning.
He said his ministry has since engaged the Justice and Legal Affairs Ministry to act on the matter.
In recognition of gold panners’ importance, the Government has since come up with a new name for them — Artisanal Miners.
Minister Mpofu said if gold panning is legalised it will be important to also engage the Environment Management Agency to educate panners on environmental issues.
“Of all the gold that’s delivered to Treasury, the panners contribute about a third yet they continue to be arrested and chased away,” he said.
Earlier this year, President Mugabe set the tone about legalising gold panners.
Defence Forces, said when gold panners became legalised, they should ensure that they protect the environment.
He said the law that called for the arrest of gold panners was unfair, as it was a legacy of the racial colonial past.
There have always been calls for the Government to establish more gold buying centres to allow producers to sell their minerals on a “no questions asked” basis.
Government has been losing a lot of money by criminalising gold panners who end up selling the mineral to foreign buyers who smuggle it out of the country.