Fees row threatens gold mining

Source: Fees row threatens gold mining | The Herald 26 FEB, 2020

Fees row threatens gold mining

Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has threatened to stop all small scale gold mining operations in its areas of jurisdiction dotted around the country over non-payment of special grant fees.

Small scale miners on the other hand are arguing that the fees are “extremely high” and cannot afford them.

The parks authority is reportedly charging an equivalent of US$4 000 in annual special grant fees to miners operating in its game parks. Small scale miners are the country’s largest gold producers, accounting for over 60 percent of the country’s deliveries to State gold buying entity — Fidelity Printers and Refiners.

The sector is primed to play a major role towards the attainment of the 2023 target the Government set for the mining sector in which exports from the extractive sector should top US$12 billion up from US$2,7 billion in 2017.

Almost all game parks in the country have one or more minerals and miners have been benefiting from these deposits.

ZimParks public relations manager, Tinashe Farawo, had requested for more time to respond to our questions.

However, miners who spoke to The Herald Finance and Business, said there was panic among the small scale miners as they have been threatened with eviction if they don’t pay the fees.

The miners are appealing for a downward review of the fees and have engaged their national representative body, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), to engage the parks authority.

ZMF chief executive officer Wellington Takavarasha, said the federation had booked an appointment with the Parks Director General Fulton Mangwanya, but refused to discuss the agenda of the meeting.

“What I can tell you for now is that we have booked to meet the national parks Director General to discuss mining issues,” said Mr Takavarasha.

This publication has obtained three letters from ZMF affiliates requesting the national body to engage the parks authority for a downward review of the fees.

One of the letters, dated 20 February 2020, came from Matobo Gold Miners Association.

“We, as the Matobo Gold Miners Association (an affiliate of the ZMF) . . . therefore would like to kindly request for you as a suitable representative, making a follow-up on this matter since special grant fees are now due again for 2020,” reads a letter signed by Reverend Sifelani Moyo on behalf of the association.

“We kindly request for your prompt assistance in this matter, which is greatly affecting the miners through mitigating and advising Parks for favourable charges that will enable us to contribute to the development of the mining sector and vision 2030.

“As things stand, these charges are prohibitive and are pegged at an equivalent of US$4 000 (ZWD +73 000).

“Your assistance will greatly relieve the miners. . . to pay these huge fees which continue to accrue huge interests with the landlord threatening to stop operations,” appealed the Matobo miners.

Mining and farming, especially tobacco, have been viewed as providing quick turns to economic turnaround by Government.