RDC levies: Small miners cry foul
SMALL-SCALE miners and local mining firms have raised concerns over exorbitant levies charged by local authorities where they operate as well as high environmental fees for new projects.
The miners are appealing to the government through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to intervene.
The small-scale miners feared the overpriced rates and levies charged by local authorities might force many to engage in illegal mining activities.
Kadoma-based miner Spencer Tshuma says rural district councils and Environmental Management Agency (EMA) must consult miners whenever they want to decide on levies miners have to pay.
“The way these authorities are coming up with their pricing is way too much and beyond the reach of miners especially small-scale miners.
They should come up with such pricing after consulting their stakeholders,” suggested Tshuma.
He said that the mining sector significantly contributes to economic development and therefore it has to be treated as a Special Economic Zone where they have full access to critical services.
He opines that local authorities and agencies should consider the costs that miners have to meet before coming up with their levies and fees.
He appealed to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development that the ministry must tighten the process of mining certification and registration especially when there are gold rushes to avoid deaths through disputes as well as collapsing of disused mines.
“Illegal mining activities have now become rampant in most parts of the country either because people are running away from paying levies to local authorities who charge exorbitant prices or because there will be delays in certification from the responsible authorities.
“It is therefore crucial that mining certification be processed faster and all necessary inspections and surveys be done quickly before people start to do illegal mining which might result in violence or deaths because some mines end up collapsing since people will be mining illegally without proper machinery and tools,” said Tshuma.
Another miner Tichaona Mharadze said that with the continued exorbitant prices being charged by local authorities there might be decline in terms of miners or most of the miners will turn to mine illegally which will also see gold and other minerals being smuggled.
“The rates and levies are just too much. Local authorities and agencies are milking miners of the little they are realising because most of our proceeds go towards production and labours costs.
“Let there be a one-stop-shop at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development where these authorities and agencies collect their money. Most mines and miners are billed exorbitant levies and rates without any proper consultation or justification from the authorities.
“Zesa is also billing small-scale miners’ similar tariffs to those that are billed on large-scale miners and bigger mining companies. The mining sector must be a level playing field where there is uniformity and where tariffs and levies are pegged accordingly and with proper consultations,” says Mr Mharadze.
Zimbabwe Miners Confederation Chairman for Mashonaland West Province Timothy Chizuzu reiterated that there should be full power supply to miners as mining contributes a lot to the country’s economy.
Chizuzu opines that there must be special electricity lines that directly serve miners for there to be continuous production within the mining sector.
“There is delay in issuing out of mining certification and the main reason is that the offices are understaffed and they end up being overwhelmed as it takes time for them to do all the registrations and verifications. I, therefore, appeal to the responsible authority to improve in terms of human resources so that there can be speed on registration and issuing out of mining certificates. Also, rural councils are indirectly becoming to an impediment to mining operations.
“They are charging as much as USD$5 000 per year for a small-scale miner whilst the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is charging $25 750 per year. The difference is just too much.”