Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has forfeited about 220 small-scale mining claims in Matabeleland South Province over non-payment of inspection fees.
In a circular seen by Sunday Business, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development noted that owners of the claims have up until 25 August to revoke the forfeiture or risk losing their claims. The Ministry recently increased inspection fees which are paid annually from $2 000 to $25 500 for an ordinary block which is about 10 hectares.
“The following mining locations have on the day Wednesday the 4th of August 2021 been forfeited in terms of Section 260 and 271 of the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05) and shall subject to the provisions of Section 272 of the said Act be open for relocation on Thursday the 9th of September 2021 unless revoked on or before Wednesday the 25th of August 2021,” read the circular accompanying the names of the claims that have been forfeited.
In an interview, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Matabeleland South Provincial mining director Mr Khumbulani Mlangeni said the claim holders had to visit their offices to clear the arrears or make a payment plan within 21 days from the time the forfeiture notice was issued.
He said those who failed will lose their rights to their claims.
“We have issued a notice of forfeiture to claim holders that haven’t paid inspection fees.
“We have put up this notice on notice boards according to the set procedure.
“The claim holders have 21 days to revoke this decision by clearing their arrears, making a payment plan or paying what we call a protection fee. Those who fail to do any of the above would have rendered their claims liable for forfeiture. After 35 days from the time of issuing this notice they would have lost their rights to the claims and they will be disposed meaning they will be allocated to other people,” he said.
According to the Mines and Minerals Act, the Government is empowered to dispose of forfeited claims. Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Matabeleland South provincial chairman Mr Philemon Mokuele encouraged claim owners to engage the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development offices in order to resolve the matter.
“The Ministry of Mines has listed mines for forfeiture. If your mine is on this list just visit the offices as soon as possible otherwise you might lose your mine,” he said.
Miners have complained that the inspections fees were beyond their reach which made it difficult for them to clear their arrears.