- May 5, 2021
- Posted in NEWS
A document has been making rounds on Mining circles purporting that Police in Mashcentral have begun conducting an operation code-named “HATIDI ZVIGURUGURU/ ASIFUNI IZIGAYO ZAMATSHE / NO TO HAMMER MILLS.
The document (dated 3 May 2021) seen by this publication is addressed to various departments of the Police in that province, states that Illegal mining activities have since become rampant in most of the mining sites around the country posing a health hazard to both humans and wildlife due to the use of harmful chemicals hence the reason why the operation will be conducted.
“While it is easy to monitor activities of registered mills, it is difficult to monitor unregistered miners who have installed these uncommissioned hammer mills”.
“In some cases, hammer mills are being installed near rivers for riverbed mining and easy access of water thereby causing siltation along the river course and environmental degradation”.
“Gold milled from these hammer mills is prone to side marketing and smuggling since it is not properly accounted for thereby prejudicing the country’s fiscus”.
“It is against this background that the province will carry out this three-day operation to stop the sprouting of unregistered hammer mills,” reads the document in part.
This reporter contacted National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi who said he will immediately verify the authenticity of the document and revert. His phone went unanswered thereafter as the reporter attempted to follow up on the story.
The reporter also contacted Officer Commanding Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit Mashonaland Central Superintendent Zhou who was listed as the overall commander of the operation who denied he had anything to do with the operation.
Small-scale mining in Zimbabwe
The small-scale mining industry is currently operating with majority of the miners operating illegally. Reports say around 40 000 ASM miners are registered and operating legally whilst the majority in the hundreds of thousands ply the trade illegally.
Illegal mining is currently attributed to high poverty levels and the ridiculously slow pace of the processing of mining title applications by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Hon Winston Chitando reiterated that the Ministry was overwhelmed by the influx of mining title applications as mining takes centre stage as one of the most favourable industries in the country.
A mining title application in areas like Mashwest, Midlands and Mashcentral reportedly takes between 4 – 10 years to be issued, with reports of paperwork going missing at times. This has seen multi-pegging which lead to unending disputes across the country. Some mines ministry officials have also been reported to be taking bribes of between USD200 – 500 to speed up inspections and issuance of mining titles. They are also implicated in the tempering of claim coordinates when a site is reported to be production high ore grades.
Minister Hon Winston Chitando however said some of these problems will be fixed by the introduction of the Cadastre system. Addressing miners earlier this year Chitando said the cadastre equipment will be inland by June 2021 and would eliminate many issues currently being faced in the country.