Small-scale miners call for lower fees

Small-scale miners are complaining that their work is being constrained by the government’s insistence on exorbitant fees for the permits and other paperwork they need before operating.

Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners’ Council (ZASMC) president Wellington Takavarasha said government was making it difficult for some local people who wanted to mine legally.

He said it was not practical for government to force small-scale miners to engage a consultant to draft an environmental impact assessment (EIA) or environmental management plan, which would cost them $3,500.

“The fee is too much and people will end up operating illegally. Small-scale miners are being fined between $200 and $500 by government. We are asking how you can fine someone for not understanding a book written in a language they don’t read,” said Takavasha.

He said they had recommended government to allow the EIA to be written in other languages to accommodate the miners. He also suggested that pushing miners to engage professionals was promoting corruption amongst officials, who were reportedly demanding bribes to fast-track approvals.

Takavarasha also voiced concern over the high tariffs being charged by rural district councils across the country, and asked for fees to be made a standard rate.

He said Parks and Wildlife Management of Zimbabwe was charging miners $60,000, which automatically meant there were no properly registered miners operating in those areas.

“This is why you see government receiving less gold because they have declared the area inaccessible by charging fees that are too high. This means anyone mining in these areas is a poacher,” he said.

Takavarasha encouraged government to reduce its royalties, tax and commissions to encourage miners to sell their gold to Fidelity Printers.

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