Small Scale Miners Urge Govt to Change Mining Law for Protection from Bullies
29 June 2023
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Small to medium scale miners in Zimbabwe have raised concerns over a mining law that grants exclusive rights to individuals possessing large tracts of land under an exclusive prospecting order (EPO). The law has resulted in prospective miners struggling to obtain new claims, hindering the country’s vision of achieving a US$12 billion mining economy. In a meeting with President Mnangagwa, the miners emphasized the need for corrective measures to address the current challenges faced by the mining sector.

Exclusivity of EPOs:
The national coordinator of the small to medium scale miners’ group, Mr. Rodrick Mumbire, highlighted that a few elites held EPOs, granting them exclusive control over substantial land areas of up to 35,000 hectares. This exclusivity has left the majority of prospective miners without access to land for gold exploration. Furthermore, it has been observed that many of the areas held under EPOs remain idle, without any productive mining activities taking place.

Impact on Mining Industry Growth:
The concerns raised by the miners are crucial for the growth of the mining industry and the nation’s economy as a whole. Small to medium scale miners contribute a significant 60 percent of the total gold mined in the country. Their role in achieving the government’s target of a US$12 billion mining economy cannot be overlooked. Thus, addressing the obstacles faced by these miners is essential for the sustainable development of the sector.

Presidential Response:
President Mnangagwa assured the miners that their concerns would be thoroughly examined by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. Recognizing the miners’ expertise and their position as the primary stakeholders in the industry, the President emphasized the importance of incorporating their advice and perspectives in decision-making processes. By doing so, the government aims to make informed choices that prioritize the well-being and success of small to medium scale miners.

Promoting Peaceful and Harmonious Mining:
President Mnangagwa commended the miners for the prevailing peace within the sector, noting that the violent activities associated with machete gangs were now a thing of the past. Under the Second Republic, the government has actively advocated against violence in mining and emphasized the need for cooperation and harmony. The President emphasized that all miners should respect each other’s rights and property, discouraging any form of illegal takeovers or disputes.

Supporting Women in Mining:
In addition to addressing the concerns of small to medium scale miners, President Mnangagwa highlighted the government’s commitment to supporting women in mining. This initiative aims to promote gender equality and empower women in the sector, recognizing their significant contributions to the growth of the mining industry and the national economy.

The appeals made by small to medium scale miners to scrap the mining law granting exclusivity to individuals holding EPOs are critical for the development of the mining industry in Zimbabwe. By considering their concerns and taking corrective actions, the government can create a more inclusive and equitable mining environment. This, in turn, will support the nation’s goal of achieving a US$12 billion mining economy while fostering peace, harmony, and sustainable growth within the sector.