Zimbabwe’s mining industry is bound to deteriorate further owing to the government’s move to increase charges by broad margins. This is according to the country’s small scale miners who are majorly into gold mining. The situation was made worse by the Corona Virus pandemic.
The Zimbabwean government had to reevaluate its fees about two weeks ago because of the current economic situation and in particular inflation and the devaluing local currency. Miners also indicated that the fee hike is likely to be a hindrance in building a US$12 billion industry by 2023 as earlier anticipated. The country has, in the past two years, been working on transforming the mining industry and turning it into one of the largest contributors to Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2023. Among the key players in this vision are small-scale miners, who until recently had a big contribution in the production of gold, after the fall of bigger mines. Inflated fees, taxes and royalties are some of the factors that contributed to the fall of the aforementioned bigger mines. The chamber of mines of Zimbabwe was hence forced to implore the government to compromise its fees hike decision.
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Registration for a precious metal block of gold was jacked up to $12 750 from $1 000, while registration as an approved prospector was escalated to $255 000 from $20 000. This is through the Statutory Instrument (SI) 185 of 2021 gazetted by the ministry of Mines and Mining Development two weeks ago. Charges for recording an exceptional mining grant rose to $63 750 from $500 while prospecting licenses were increased to $6 375, from$1 000.
Speaking to Standardbusiness, Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners’ Association (ASSA) chairperson Blessing Togarepi said that the fee hikes would demoralize artisanal miners from their operations hence affecting the inflow of revenue into the economy.
“The current fees hikes will discourage artisanal miners from formalising their operations. As ASSA, we always encourage artisanal miners to formally peg their mines,” Togarepi said.
“Government must sit down with stakeholders and hear from them than raising mining fees without consultations. As ASSA, our aim is to encourage artisanal miners to formalise their mining activities so that they remit gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners so that the country gets foreign currency.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while addressing people at the recent Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe conference said that 2023 was just 18 months away and there is need to double efforts in order to boost output.
“Considering that 2023 is 18 months away, the mining sector must take stock with regard to the realization of a US$12 billion mining economy,” Mnangagwa told the conference.