In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Last Mutasa, the president of the Combined Small Scale Miners’ Association of Zimbabwe, said the miners were ready and fully committed to play their part in working with the government to develop the sector.
“We want to ensure that our full potential is unlocked,” said Mutasa. “There is no doubt that mining is a major contributor to the country’s economy.”
He said small-scale miners were concerned by unfriendly policies and high taxes and were ready to have a dialogue with the government in the coming year.
“We are convinced that we are not given enough opportunity to do our mining. We have been overshadowed by big companies. While we appreciate that local companies have been recognised, we still feel there are a lot of foreign investors that are taking our claims,” he said.
Mutasa said the miners had limited options but to toe the line on policy issues.
“In the past years, we have been experiencing power outages that have been affecting our operations. We want power supplies and we should be guaranteed that first and output boosted,” he added.
Nyadzai Mushore, a miner in Penhalonga and the chair of the Manicaland Women Miners’ Association, said she expected 2014 to open up greater opportunities for women miners.
“There is no doubt that mining is one of the sectors with the potential of driving the country’s recovery out of a decade-long recession, but we hope that the government will plan key changes in the sector,” she said.
“We want to be empowered with the best practices in mineral resource management and develop a common understanding on what measures are necessary to position Zimbabwe to attract much-needed capital into the mining industry,” said Mushore.
John Tera, a miner from Chimanimani, said the government should create the necessary platforms for greater cooperation between private and state institutions. He said the sector was inadequately funded.
Mining experts have said more than US$5bn is needed over the next couple of years for the sector to operate at an increased capacity.
Tera said the proposed legislation that gave farmers the right of first refusal on minerals discovered on farmland would be discussed.
The miners have said they have taken steps to unlock at least US$35m in funding facilities from government next year, amid indications that there have been numerous pledges of assistance from other financiers and investors.
The miners would meet officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development next year to form smaller organised groups. The groups want to access US$5m each in the seven mining regions of Harare, Bulawayo, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Gweru, Gwanda and Mutare.Post published in: News