Mining associations pledge to work with Govt
Youth empowerment lobby, Young Miners for Economic Development (YMED), has pledged to work with the newly appointed Minister of Mines and Mining Development Soda Zhemu, to address challenges faced by small-scale miners.
Zimbabwe has seen a rapid increase in the number of small-scale miners with an estimated 500 000 gold miners now operating in the country, supporting approximately three million dependants.
The Zimbabwe Miners Federation said the 50 000 registered small-scale miners were employing an average of at least 10 workers each.
As the price of gold continues to climb to new heights, the number of artisanal miners keeps soaring and is expected to reach around 1,5 million in the next year.
YMED President Mr Nyasha Magadhi said they were optimistic that Minister Zhemu, who formerly headed the Cabinet energy portfolio, would assist them in electrifying mining sites dotted around the country.
Mr Magadhi said they would work with the new Minister to bring stability and growth to the small-scale mining sector.
“We are hopeful that since the Minister is coming from the Energy and Power Ministry, he will address the challenges being faced by small-scale miners and help in electrifying the mines which will result in increased production and cut operational costs.
“We are happy that His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Hon Zhemu as the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.” Artisanal and small-scale miners rely heavily on diesel powered generators and want to adopt new technologies like solar energy to increase efficiency.
Mr Magadhi said the lack of investment in exploration and development had also been identified as a challenge for the mining industry in Zimbabwe which they were imploring Minister Zhemu to look into.
The country’s mineral resources were largely underexplored, with potential for new discoveries and increased production.
Lack of investment in exploration had limited the sector’s growth and development.
“The issue of formalisation should now be taken head on. The youths are rising into the mining industry and we are urging the Minister to prioritise formalisation of artisanal and small-scale mining and ensure that young people who want to venture into the sector are able to attract capital,” he said.
“We would also want the Government to ensure that the young people who peg mining claims are financed to do exploration to ensure their mines are bankable,” Mr Magadhi said.
Youth in Lithium Mining Association Chairperson Mr Shelton Lucas said the Minister needed to look into some Statutory Instruments that seem to be disenfranchising small scale miners, including the suspension of special grants.
“There is need for the Ministry to look at some of the Statutory Instruments which are heavily affecting miners especially in the chrome sector.
“The Great Dyke is entirely covered by reservation and there is need for the lifting of the bans on prospecting and pegging for lithium, copper and rare earth elements and also to implement an equitable ratio of exclusive prospecting orders against the surface area of peggable land in the county,” Mr Lucas said.
Chief executive officer for the Young Miner Foundation (YMF) Mr Payne Farai Kupfuwa said the Minister should look at things like Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) and ensure that young people are given the opportunity to sit on decision making boards in the mining industry.
“As young miners we would want to congratulate Hon Zhemu for being appointed the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. We look forward to him the working to create a US$12 billion mining industry.
“We are also concerned about some elements of the Mines Bill and we also want young people to sit on the Mining Affairs Board.”