GOVERNMENT has begun cancelling gold mining licences owned by companies that are failing to utilise their claims.
This comes amid reports that a local mining company is sitting on 6 500 gold claims, which are underutilised and these could be given to small-scale miners.
Addressing small-scale miners over the weekend during the launch of Miners for Economic Development (ED) Mashonaland West chapter at Golden Valley in Kadoma, Mines deputy minister Polite Kambamura said government has already started cancelling some of the exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs).
The event was organised by the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF).
“Other nations don’t want young miners, but we want to thank our President Emmerson Mnangagwa for saying everyone should have something to do with the country’s development, including farmers, manufacturers and all those who contribute to the economy,” Kambamura said. He then read the riot act to miners, saying some major mining companies risk losing their mines.
“When our President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa came to power in 2017, the mining industry was contributing US$2,7 billion. Last year, the industry contributed US$5,2 billion which went to the Ministry of Finance. This year it is now at US$6 billion, and this shows that we have a President with vision.
“We have started cancelling EPOs and we started with Matabeleland North where we have cancelled many. We are yet to come here in Mashonaland West, but we will be going to all provinces. We have a company sitting on 6 500 gold claims. We will use the use it or lose it principle as we have discovered that people with EPOs are not really doing anything, but they are holding the areas for selfish reasons. In future, we are going to cancel EPOs if those companies go for six months without providing exploration reports.”
Kambamura refused to disclose the name of the company sitting on 6 500 claims.
EPOs are used to quantify the country’s mineral resources, but the government has accused some individuals of abusing the facility by selling tributes.
Speaking at the launch, ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya said: “The main reason we are gathered here is the issue of EPOs. The deputy minister should pass our concerns to President Mnangagwa. There are many mines which have been closed for years and we appeal to government to prioritise young miners that want to work.”
ZMF Mashonaland West leader Timothy Chizuzu said: “We are concerned about mine grabs by some cartels, but we are working very closely with the police.” – (Newsday)