Most people after being granted their mine registration certificates, they are not aware of the regulatory requirements thereafter and they are mostly found wanting. In law, they say “ignorantia legis neminem excusat,” meaning ignorance is no excuse at law hence you are penalised for breaching the law even if you are not aware of it. Some of the penalties of failing to adhere to the mining regulations include loss of title (forfeiture), fines or even imprisonment.
In this article I will highlight some of the important regulations, although not conclusive, that need to be adhered to after registering as a miner:
Appointment of mine manager – SI 109 of 1990
Upon registration, the miner is expected to, within 7 days appoint a mine manager who will be accountable for all activities at the mine. Failure to do so the owner automatically becomes the mine manager. The mine manager should be a competent person with a blasting licence though in some instances someone with vast mining experience can be considered and he/she has to be granted an appointment letter from the Ministry of Mines.
2. Approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Before any mining takes place the miner should have an approved EIA from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA). An EIA identifies any possible environmental impacts associated with your intended mining activities and how these impacts can be mitigated. For small scale mining an EIA can be attained through a less rigorous and cheaper Environmental Management Plan and for larger projects or projects with huge environmental implications it is attained through hiring a consultant which is costly and takes longer.
3. Submission of monthly returns
Before the 10th day of every month, a miner is supposed to submit monthly production returns of output realised at their mine to the respective Provincial Mining Office. Declaration of returns should be done even if nothing was produced. Failure to do so is an offence liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment or to both fine and imprisonment.
4. Payment of royalties
Mining depletes the resource and for this reason miners are expected to pay royalties when they dispose their output. The rates of royalties vary per mineral and are collected at export and disposal. On behalf of Government Fidelity Printers and Refiners collects royalties for gold and silver when it disposed to them and Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe for all other minerals when export receipts are received.
5. Payment to Rural District Councils (RDCs)
Most mining is undertaken in rural areas and according to Section 255 of the Mines and Minerals Act upon registration a miner is expected to pay a statutory fee at stipulated intervals to the relevant RDC depending on the mining location. Failure to do so, the debt accumulates to the RDC and the RDC is empowered to recover the debt from the miner through a competent court.
6. Preservation of Mining rights
To preserve your mining rights from forfeiture, applications for inspections should be submitted to the Provincial Mining Director. The first inspection certificate should be applied for, six months from the date of registration and this blocks the claim from forfeiture for twelve months from date registration.
Twelve months from date of registration, the miner should apply and obtain the second inspection certificate and this protects the claim from forfeiture for twelve months from date of first inspection. Subsequent inspections will be for twelve months from expiry of the first inspection.
Inspection certificates are granted by the Provincial Mining Director on the basis of work done, production or capital expenditure and payment of a gazetted fee. In the case of base metal inspection certificates can be granted by just paying the gazetted fee (inspection by payment) because of the nature of the minerals.
An Economist in the extractive sector with over seven years experience in public sector policy formulation, investment promotion and ASM. Ranga is currently employed by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as a Principal Policy Planning & Coordination Officer, based in Harare, Zimbabwe.