EDITOR — It is encouraging to hear the new ministers talking tough but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Political expediency has brought many down, and five years is not a long time to deliver on promises.
There is so much rot in the mining sector that Walter Chidhakwa, the Mines and Mining Development Minister is best advised to shuffle his mining commissioners for a start.
The mining inspectorate needs to be strengthened and staffed by people with mining qualifications.
Besides diamonds, gold offers a lot of potential, but chikorokoza or any form of informal mining must be stopped.
It is suicidal to dignify chikorokoza by qualifying it as artisanal mining. Nowhere in the world have artisanal miners been of great benefit
Mining should be formalised; personnel should be trained; all miners should be registered with the National Social Security Authority and Workers Compensation Insurance Fund; all employers/syndicates/claim holders should be members of a mining association and gold leakages should be stopped by ensuring that Fidelity Refiners is adequately funded to purchase all the gold that is produced. Production returns must be produced and followed up on for compliance while gold royalty must be reduced from seven percent to less than three percent so as to stem leakages to the black market.
In short, Chidhakwa should listen to people who are keen to contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product through above board exploitation of our minerals all the way from the small-scale gold miner.
Chidhakwa should not take advice from the same mining commissioners who have been part of the most corrupt practices you can think of in the country.
There are well-meaning industry bodies like the Gold Miners Association that yearn to see the country succeed through formal and professional exploitation of the country’s abundant resources.
The mining industry has great potential to employ huge numbers of people that also include purely professionals to do administrative functions.
I pray that sanity prevails in the country, if only politicians knew that there is so much goodwill from the populace.