SMALL scale miners have bemoaned the high mining fees that are hindering their growth and proposed their slashing by at least 20% across the board. In separate interviews on the side-lines of the Matabeleland North provincial alternative mining indaba held in Bubi district last week, miners’ associations said their survival depended on the reduction of mining fees.
“We have got the issue of the permit of the carbons that has to be reduced. Currently, it’s about $500. Let’s look where we are coming from. These things were for free, so we don’t see any harm if they can charge us about 20% of the current value. I think that will be much better,” Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation first vice-president, Ishmael Kaguru, said.
“There is an issue of explosives. They were $2 000 and were reduced to $1 000, but we still feel the fees are too high considering again, where we are coming from. It was for free, so why charge those exorbitant prices? It doesn’t make any sense and at the same time you say you want this target. How do we meet those targets? A miner can’t do without explosives. It’s impossible. So we are saying again, can it be reduced about 20% of the current price.”
Kaguru said prospecting licences now cost $200 from the previous $20 and suggested that these be reduced by at least 50%.
He said the registration fees of $200 should also be halved.
“So there are a lot of fees charged on a miner. You go to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), their charges are about $5 000. How do they come up with these figures?” he asked.
“The penalties are too high, the fees are too high. So we are appealing to authorities to cut these fees. These are the things that we expect on the ease of doing business.”
Bubi Women in Mining chairperson, Jane Lusinga said various fees were charged for one to start mining including, for inspection, pegging and prospecting.
“And then to get the licence, it’s another payment. Going to the ground costs you more money. At the end of the day, it becomes very exorbitant and we would like these charges to be reduced to very reasonable charges. We can’t do mining as long it’s like that. These are challenges that we are facing as mining is concerned,” she said.
Bubi Small Scale Miners Association secretary general, Benjamin Ndlovu said they have been engaging the government on the issue together with other stakeholders.
“We have looked at some various issues especially the issue of licecses from the Mines ministry, which we think are exorbitant, especially the fees for pegging the claims that are $200,” he said.
“We think it’s too much. There is also the fee of registration, which we also think is too much. It must be halved. There are also fees for EMA; those ones are very expensive for small scale miners.”
Ndlovu said the government was charging small miners the same fees as big corporates.
“We are small scale miners and the tools that we are using to produce that gold are primitive and are small for us to take out more ore or do more production. That is the reason why we are lobbying the ministry to recognise that there is a difference between a small scale miner and a big corporate,” he said.
Miners also bemoaned a lot of red tape and bureaucracy, on the issuance of registration certificates.
The government also charges miners $2 000 a year for the storage of explosive magazines.
In response, Matabeleland North provincial mining director, Julius Moyo, said miners should lobby the government on the mining fees through their associations.–newsday