Mines ministry condemns Midlands gold war
Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura has said his ministry is concerned with the emergence of militant groups fighting for the control of gold mining claims in the Midlands province.
There has been intermittent fights over the control of gold mineral rich mining claims in the province, with some of the fights turning fatal.
Kwekwe General Hospital at one point had to send an SOS after some machete wielding artisanal miners invaded the hospital while making a follow-up on a rival who had been hospitalised at the institution following a nasty fight over the control of a mine.
Addressing delegates who attended a devolution breakfast meeting hosted by Zimpapers group’s Business Weekly newspaper last week, Deputy Minister Kambamura said his ministry was worried by the violent clashes among small-scale miners.
He appealed to the police to reign in on the perpetrators of violence, saying the developments were not good for the industry.
“Let me take this opportunity to shun the emergence of militant groups in the province where some have been nicknamed “VeMabhemba,” he said.
Deputy Minister Kambamura urged the police to assist in arresting perpetrators of violence in the mining sector.
“We call upon the home affairs to chip in and assist before this trend gets out of hand,” he said.
Deputy Minister Kambamura said artisanal miners played an important role in improving the country’s gold output.
He said the ministry was coming up with provincial mining committees to help solve disputes.
He said the ministry was working at amending the Mines and Minerals Act to accommodate artisanal miners, who were regarded as illegal miners in the present law.
“Hundreds of thousands of households are being sustained through artisanal miners and Government is in the process of amending the Mines and Mineral Act Mining Act to remove some of its sections that make small-scale mining illegal,” he said.
“This is to make sure that there is recognition of small scale miners. The current law was crafted in 1961 and the regime that was there then criminalised small scale mining.”
Deputy Minister Kambamura said under the new law, small scale miners will be able to access bank loans to improve the infrastructure at their mining claims.