Mines Act amendment to be finalised in January


THE GOVERNMENT is targeting finalising the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act by the end of January next year, expected to usher in a policy decriminalising the operation of informal small-scale miners known as amakorokoza.


According to the last week parliamentary Hansard, Mines deputy minister Freddy Moyo said the government was finalising the amendment to allow mining companies to release claims they are not using to  small-scale players without pay as part of efforts to formalise the sector.

 “We have to change the Mines and Mineral Act sections that relate to giving claims without paying for them and our target is that it should be in place latest by end of January 2014,” Moyo said.

“The ministry’s policy at the moment is to as quickly as possible decriminalise small-scale miners and the reason at the moment they are criminalised is that they are working   on claims that are not theirs,” Moyo added.

He said the ministry was currently carrying out an exercise throughout the country to establish on how many registered mining claims are not being used especially by big mining players and then come up with initiatives on how such claims could be realised to small-scale miners on a tribute payment system.

“We hope that in the new year, a lot of claims will be released to a syndicate of small operators who will be supervised by the ministry together with big mining companies that own these claims and definitely the project will take off.”

The government in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Council (Zamsc) is also in the process of registering 1,5 million small-scale miners countrywide by end of this year as part of plans to formalise the sector and improve production.

According to Zamsc, as of July this year, only 25 000 small-scale miners had been registered. Unregistered miners have been facing a plethora of challenges ranging from criminalisation and failure to access funding from banks, largely due to lack of collateral.