ARTISANAL miners have urged the government to speedily implement the “use it or lose it” mining policy to prevent accumulation of claims for speculative purposes.
Artisanal and Small Scale Miners Association (ASSA) national chairperson Blessing Togarepi said if implemented, the policy would increase production in the mining sector.
“The ‘use it or lose it policy’ will prevent accumulation of mining claims for speculative purposes and the cadastre system which requires an environmental impact assessment to be undertaken before issuance of a mining title. Investors holding claims will be forced to work on the ground and increase production in the mining sector” he said.
Togarepi said if implemented, the policy would require claim holders to submit work plans for review to the Mines and Mining Development ministry board every six months, which will improve accountability and transparency in issuance of mining titles.
Section 27 of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill states that an exclusive prospecting licence shall not entitle the prospector to remove or dispose of any mineral except for purposes of having it assayed, or for determining its nature, and must get permission to do so from the cadastre registrar.
“This provision is critical in stamping mineral leakages that have taken place in alluvial mining of precious minerals like diamonds,” he said.
Togarepi said amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act was long overdue as the archaic 1961 colonial legislation was not in sync with the Constitution.
“The Mines and Minerals Act supersede all other Acts that underpin community development when minerals are discovered.
Thus the law is not in harmony with Acts such as the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27, Rural Districts Act (Chapter 29:13) and Water Act (Chapter 20:24).
The law is also not aligned with the Constitution Amendment No 20, Act 2013 with respect to environmental rights, 73(b) (iii) which provides for the right to sustainable development out of use of natural resources.”
He said the country’s failure to adopt international best practices such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has led to mismanagement of mineral resources and human rights violations in the country.
“In other words, an absence of a robust Mines and Minerals Amendment law has meant that revenue flows have been affected; the economy has lost the much needed development, and increased the vulnerability of communities living in resource rich areas,” Togarepi who is also the director of TogaBless Mining Investments said.
“The Bill should adopt the Zimbabwe mining revenue transparency initiative that compels
companies to make their production and revenues a public,” he said. (Newsday)