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Illegal mining sorely a creation of Mines Ministry’s incompetence

Illegal mining sorely a creation of Mines Ministry’s incompetence

Keith Sungiso

Formalisation, formalisation, formalisation!

Arent, you tired of hearing these words? It is now a song that has been playing on repeat for years non-stop. You would swear even responsible authorities are tired of hearing this song but what is stopping them from
taking action? Surely the country stands to benefit immensely if more applications are processed.

By Keith Sungiso

Welcome dear reader to the second issue of Mining Zimbabwe Magazine of 2021. Daily we see and hear in the press about illegal mining and deaths in mining shafts.

What exactly is illegal mining? Illegal mining is mining activity that is undertaken without state permission, in particular in absence of land rights, mining licenses, and exploration or mineral transportation permits. In
Zimbabwe, there are two types of illegal mining activities.

The first one is those who do not bother to take any measures to conduct mining legally and this is usually gold rushes or old mineshaft invasions. This is a magnet for violent confrontations which often machete gang clashes are reported. It is pure criminal activity and the gold realised from it has very low chances of getting to state vaults.

The second and most common one which the topic I am focusing on is of persons who take every necessary step prescribed by the government, pay all fees required but Mines Ministry takes years or doesn’t bother processing their applications. Thousands have reapplied after the expiration of their prospecting licenses and still, no one processes their applications.

Most of the gold realised from these operations is purchased by buyers who visit these mining areas. Miners will not risk travelling to sell to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) centres, even though the entity buys from anyone on the condition they just produce their national ID. This is an opportunity being taken advantage of by illegal buyers.

Most of these illegal buyers deep in the bush buy for less than FPR rates. This gap needs to be covered and one of the ways is for government to prioritise formalisation. This will also allow the government to ensure mining is done correctly and proper professional methods are used, in the long term improve mining in the country.

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The laxity by the Mines and Mining Development Ministry in formalising these miners has created bad precedence whereby miners “Just do it for the now”. It is currently senseless for them to set up permanent structures as authorities will confiscate any equipment they come across at titleless mining areas. In the event that all miners
awaiting registration are processed, it is probable that Zimbabwe will see the highest gold submissions the country has ever seen.

Currently, there is not much happening prejudicing the country of millions of potential revenue. Until such a time formalisation is prioritised talk of the second type of illegal mining is sorely a creation of the Mines Ministry’s incompetence. As usual, we welcome your views and contributions. You can get in touch with us on the numbers provided.

Remember always stay updated with Zimbabwe mining affairs by visiting our website: www.miningzimbabwe.com. Enjoy the read!!

February 2021 Mining Zimbabwe Magazine Editor’s note by Keith Sungiso

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