Govt empowers small-scale miners
THE Government will soon release over 40 000 hectares of land to small-scale miners across the country as part of efforts to empower them.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Cde Walter Chidhakwa announced this at the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation mining conference in Bulawayo on Friday.
“We must release ground for mining purposes by this generation of Zimbabweans and that is my next paper to Cabinet.
“My last paper to Cabinet two weeks ago related to the allocation of 22 500 hectares of land we received from Zimasco,” he said.
“We’re expecting between 18 000 and 20 000 ha of land from ZimAlloys for chrome and we’re releasing from our Government reservations, ground for gold and other minerals.”
The Minister said the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill has a clause on the use of land for mining purposes.
“The Bill has a clause that speaks of ‘useit-or lose it’.
“What it means is that if you’re holding ground merely for the purposes of speculation, we must be able to repossess that land in terms of the law.
“You might think that the use-it-or lose it policy is meant for whites or big mining houses but the policy applies to anybody who has the propensity to hold ground for speculative tendencies” he said.
Cde Chidhakwa also bemoaned rampant land disputes, especially among small-scale miners and to some extent between the miners and farmers.
He urged the ZMF leadership to ensure that their members were organised and co-ordinated to mitigate the disputes.
“For example, at Peace Mine in Silobela, we now don’t know whether peace still prevails at that mine or its now Pieces Mine because the mine has broken into pieces,” said Cde Chidhakwa.
He said sanity must prevail at Peace Mine as the mine was used by the Government as a pilot project to come up with a model to formalise small-scale and artisanal miners in the country.