Ar­ti­sanal min­ers de­mand for­feited claims For­mer min­ers’ boss re­claims mine

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Richard Muponde Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent Busi­ness Re­porter

AR­TI­SANAL min­ers in Mata­bele­land South whose claims were for­feited to the State re­cently are ac­cus­ing some “big wigs” of ma­nip­u­lat­ing author­ity to strip them of their re­sources.

More than 2 000 min­ing claims in Gwanda dis­trict were for­feited to the State af­ter claim hold­ers failed to pay taxes. Small scale-min­ers are re­quired to pay an an­nual levy of $100 — also known as a cer­tifi­cate of in­spec­tion.

How­ever, min­ers who par­tic­i­pated at a hear­ing of the pro­posed Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment Amend­ment Bill of 2016 by the Par­lia­men­tary Port­fo­lio on Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment and En­ergy and Power De­vel­op­ment on Tues­day said the claims were wrong­fully for­feited.

For­mer Gwanda Mayor Mr Rido Mpofu who is also into min­ing said the claims should be re­turned with im­me­di­ate ef­fect as he warned of fights be­tween the old own­ers and those who would come to take up the claims.

“What are we here to dis­cuss when all the ar­ti­sanal min­ers in Gwanda have their claims for­feited? It is un­heard of. Those claims should be re­turned with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. This is tor­ture to peo­ple who are al­ready fail­ing to pay the $100 [that is] needed. They will be a fight if this is­sue is not re­solved care­fully,” he said.

Mrs Deliwe Moyo from Esigo­dini said the min­ing fees were too high for ar­ti­sanal min­ers.

“The min­istry should not treat small min­ers like big mines. There should be dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween us and those big mines like Blan­ket and Vum­bachikwe.

“It is not fair for the min­istry to for­feit these claims,” said Mrs Moyo.

Al­der­man Pet­ros Muk­wena said min­ing claims should be equally dis­trib­uted to all peo­ple in the province and not to FOR­MER pres­i­dent of the Zim­babwe Min­ers Fed­er­a­tion, Mr Trynos Nkomo has re­claimed own­er­ship of Bunny’s Mine 2 in West Ni­chol­son af­ter the High Court in Bulawayo granted him an in­terim re­lief against Si­fan­jani Moyo who had in­vaded it.

Mr Nkomo pegged the claim on Au­gust 3 af­ter which Min­istry of Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment of­fi­cials in­spected it. The Gov­ern­ment for­mally al­lo­cated him the 10 hectare min­ing claim on Septem­ber 9, regis­tra­tion num­ber GA6665. How­ever, Moyo in­vaded the claim and seized 760 grammes of gold ore, prompt­ing Mr Nkomo to ap­proach the High Court. Jus­tice Martin Makonese granted the in­terim re­lief on Septem­ber 16.

In pa­pers at the High Court filed by Mr Nkomo’s lawyers Ncube and Part­ners Le­gal Prac­ti­tion­ers, Moyo is cited as the first re­spon­dent, Mata­bele­land South Prin­ci­pal Min­ing Di­rec­tor, the of­fi­cer in charge CID Min­er­als sec­tion and the of­fi­cer in charge of po­lice at West Ni­chol­son are the sec­ond, third and fourth re­spon­dents re­spec­tively.

have “big wigs” com­ing to grab all for spec­u­la­tive rea­sons.

“The Bill should al­low ar­ti­sanal min­ers to grad­u­ate to be min­ers by pro­vid­ing sup­port. The back­ground of this coun­try is from a so­cial­ist dis­po­si­tion where we should share the re­sources equally. Let us not have big wigs com­ing from Harare and Bulawayo and grab all min­ing claims here,” fumed Ald Muk­wena.

Moyo, his agents, nom­i­nees or em­ploy­ees were in­ter­dicted from go­ing within 500me­tres of the mine. He, to­gether with the third and fourth re­spon­dents were also or­dered to re­lease the ore to Mr Nkomo.

“Moyo left the mine to­day (yes­ter­day) in ac­cor­dance with the in­terim or­der of Septem­ber 16,” said Mr Nkomo yes­ter­day.

“I have taken own­er­ship of the mine which has cre­ated em­ploy­ment for 46 peo­ple in­clud­ing seven who are qual­i­fied in min­ing. Moyo does not have pa­pers to lodge a claim to the mine, ab­so­lutely noth­ing.

“He was just try­ing to use force to re­move me from the mine. I wel­come the court or­der. So the dis­tur­bances have ended and we are in the process of en­gag­ing a com­pany to do the fenc­ing of the mine for se­cu­rity pur­poses. I have a record of sell­ing gold to Fi­delity Prin­ters, con­tribut­ing to na­tional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. I be­lieve that Bunny’s Luck Mine 2 will cre­ate more jobs and help in de­vel­op­ing the sur­round­ing area. I must say that this would be pos­si­ble be­cause we have a gov­ern­ment that sup­ports black in­volve­ment in an in­dus­try that was dom­i­nated by whites be­fore 1980. Pres­i­dent (Robert) Mu­gabe and Zanu-PF want us to suc­ceed.”

He would not name the “big wigs”. Uzumba leg­is­la­tor, Sim­ba­neuta Mu­darikwa chaired the meet­ing.

The Min­istry of Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment has said in a pub­lic no­tice that re­ver­sal of for­fei­ture was de­pen­dent on the pay­ment of a “re­vo­ca­tion fee.”

Most of the for­feited claims are gold claims.

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