Claims disputes cost Zim 10kg gold monthly

Source: Claims disputes cost Zim 10kg gold monthly | The Herald July 12, 2017

Business Reporter
The country is losing close to 10kg of gold every month due to continued delays in settling mining claims disputes in most mining provinces.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation first vice-president Ishmael Kaguru told The Herald Business that an estimated 10kg of gold is being lost due to lack of production driven by conflicts arising from ownership of mines.

He said there is need for Government to expedite the resolution of mining disputes. According to reports, Matabeleland South Province has the most disputes as it is the biggest gold producing province in the country.

“Most of the disputes relate to over-pegging where more than one person or company is registered to mine the same location due to alleged connivance between ministry officials and unscrupulous miners and farmers,” said Mr Kaguru.

“Adjudication of dispute is done by mining surveyors but the problem lies with those who do the pegging who in most cases responsible for deliberately overlapping one’s claim in favour of another party that might have given them a kick back,” he said.

Mr Kaguru added that the people responsible for pegging were also allocating claims that are being forfeiting to certain individuals, which leads to problems when the claims are revoked.

He said the people who do the pegging are trained and licensed by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. “The only way to stop this (over pegging) is to get qualified personnel to be surveyors because the people who are doing the job are not surveyors.

“These disputes are costing us a lot in terms of production because they take long to resolve. Of course, we expect the new Mines Affairs Board which now has small-scale miners’ representatives to look into the issue but we need District Mines Affairs Board to be put in place to enable us to cut the period of resolving disputes as the disputes take six months or years to resolves,” said Mr Kaguru.

Small scale gold miners in Zimbabwe are expected to contribute at least 13 tonnes of gold to national output this year, up from 9,7 tonnes that they produced last year.

Small-scale miners contributed almost 40 percent of total output since 2015, when the Government legalised artisanal mining and embarked on an aggressive collection strategy, which saw the country’s sole buyer of gold, Fidelity Printers and Refineries, setting up buying depots across the country.

At peak in 2004, small-scale miners produced 17 tonnes of gold. However, despite the potential the sector has in contributing to economic growth, some Government levies and royalties have resulted in many preferring to operate illegally.

Government has been making efforts to prop up small-scale mining operations and in 2015 reduced royalties for small-scale gold miners to 1 percent from 3 percent.