In an effort to clear mining title backlogs that were dating back to 2017 the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Hon Winston Chitando deployed teams to affected provinces starting with Midlands and Mashonaland West Provinces.
The blitz teams were deployed to quicken survey inspection and reports so that miners timely receive their certificates to be able to commence regularised mining.
However, investigations done by Mining Zimbabwe seem to conclude that although the Minister had sent teams in Mashonaland West to make sure that the backlog has been cleared even with the province receiving 10 cars for the backlog clearing blitz, little to no certificates have been issued so far prompting fears that the Minister’s efforts for the mining industry to achieve a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023 are not being taken seriously.
According to a quantitative analysis done by this reporter from a sample of 312 people who were supposed to receive certificates under the Blitz program, no one has yet received a mining certificate in Mashonaland West and of the 99 people interviewed by this reporter in Midlands only 25 could not confirm whether they received certificates or not.
According to this sample research, this makes Midlands backlog clearing over 60 per cent while Mashonaland West still stands at zero. The miners from Midlands who spoke to this reporter said they received the certificates two weeks after an inspection was conducted at their claims.
The researcher is perplexed as to whether it was only coincidental that MashWest seems to be on zero per cent or the province’s inaction is potentially sabotaging the vision or it is just inapt to compliment the Minister’s efforts.
However, when Mining Zimbabwe visited Mashonaland West Province, the Provincial Mining Director (PMD) Sibongile Mpindiwa said the certificates were being issued maybe not at the desired rate by miners. She said Mashonaland West Province has been under pressure that’s why it was struggling to deal with backlogs.
She said allegations being made by miners that no single person is yet to get certificates from the Blitz are non-founded. She said her office was strategizing on how to increase the numbers because the province has a backlog that surveyors did through Mines Minister Chitando’s backlog clearing blitz.
It should be noted that Midlands Province reportedly had a backlog above that of Mashonaland West and has been able to cope with the pressure at least for now.
Mashonaland West Province before the backlog clearing Blitz was reported to have around 8000 title backlog with reports indicating that over 65 per cent of the people who are yet to get mining titles are already operating. This, therefore, means that without certificates many people although producing gold and other minerals may not be selling through formal markets leading to leakages, and potentially depriving the country of much-needed foreign currency.