By Lynette Manzini
Harare, November 24, 2016 – GOVERNMENT has maintained its position to regularise artisanal mining activities in the country although a proposed law on the practice is silent on the development.
The Minerals and Mining Amendment Bill, still to be debated in parliament, seeks to amend the Minerals and Mining Act which was crafted before independence to incorporate the changes emerging within the extractive sector.
Artisanal mining is not recognised by the 1961 law which makes it difficult for them to operate.
Speaking at the mining and suppliers handbook launch organised by BuyZimbabwe campaign, Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Fred Moyo said government acknowledged the huge contribution the practice had towards massive unemployment in the country.
He however could not readily release the estimated numbers of those into artisanal mining.
“The legal issues are being handled through the Bill that we are pushing through parliament,” he said.
“Institutionally, we have put Zimbabwe Mining Federation as umbrella body at the national level. Below this we have provincial representatives of institutions and below this we will have district structures which will lead to structures at ward level.
“Institutionally, we are busy moulding the school of mines to be a vehicle that is able to decentralise into provinces and districts and also have a curricular that has got short courses aimed at small scale miners.”
Zimbabwe Mining Federation chief executive officer Wellington Takavarasha said the directorate will compile a data base of all small scale miners and relay the information to the world.
“The government is trying to look at the full potential of the artisanal small scale miners,” he said.
“The only way we can realise the full potential is with information. We are saying there is 7000 tonnes coming from the artisanal small scale miners but who are the actual producers.”
Despite a December 2013 policy proclamation by the Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa that artisanal mining will be decriminalised, it is still to be put into law.