By Nyamayaro Chitsinde
The year coming to an end and hopes of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill to be tabled before Parliament are fading with stakeholders not giving up their war against some clauses they deem will not give value to local mining industry.
The Ministry of Mine and Mining Development and the Attorney General’s office are finalising the Bill for it to be tabled before the August House, presumably next year.
There is consensus that the colonial and archaic legislation governing mining operation in the country needs to be amended.
The Act was enacted in 1964.
Successive ministers of mines have left office without amending the antediluvian legislature despite promising to overhaul the draconian law.
Minister Winston Chitando is determined that the Act will be amended before the end of his current term.
Despite the official amendment bill not yet ready, there have been a bag of mixed feelings over some clauses that mining stakeholders feel will be anti-progress in the development of the sector.
One clause that has torched a storm among mining stakeholders is that which requires prospective miners to appear before a cadastre Board to approve or reject applications.
Artisanal and small scale miners Association National Chairman Blessing Togarepi recently wrote to parliament requesting the August House to protect the interests of small scale miners.
Togarepi said that if the bill was to be passed as it is, it would elbow small scale miners out of the mining industry.
“ ‘” Togarepi wrote to parliament recently.
Another miner, Mr Irvene Dzingirayi said that should spare legal provisions on ownership.
“The (Mines and Minerals Amendment) Bill must have legal provisions for everything but not ownership.
“If that happens, it becomes the equivalence of renewing title deeds.
“Basically, the authors (of the mines and minerals Bill) just wanted to steal from us.
“They (the authors) just used production figures to steel from us. Note that a mine certificate is not a licence that must be renewed on the basis of competence, I believe a mine certificate is retained on the basis of compliance and shortfalls can be corrected by complying to the laid down requirements that produce issuance of such a certificate,” he said.
Mr Garikai Chinake, a miner, said the bill is an extension of colonial mind of elbowing out locals from benefitting from God given resources.
“I have gone through the numerous inputs concerning this (mines and Minerals Amendment) Bill., from the sound of it (the Bill, they want to elbow out the small scale miners who are, as a matter of fact, the biggest gold producers in the country (by both Chamber of mines and Fidelity Printers and Refiners statistics),” he said.
Chinake blamed a third force trying to outmuscle other miners.
“A third hand is at work here. Empowerment of locals and freedom to determine what is good for us is why we celebrated (the gaining of) independence.
“This Bill is colonial and should be done away with,” he said.
HE SIR said the Bill must have provisions to capitalise miners than to shut the door on prospective miners,
“The Bill has no provision for training or capitalising mines and yet it has a clause to pronounce someone unfit to mine.\
“Already, some miners in Chiweshe have been classified unfit to own a mine and have been forced to accept very connected people as partners.
“if the Bill passes, such people will not be partnered but simply disqualified from mining and have their mines stolen from them,” he said.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Chief Executive officer called on miners and stakeholders to hold on to their emotions and wait for due process to take its course.
“People should wait for it to be gazetted. We should not be arguing about something that has not been tabled,” he said.