THE Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Council (ZASMC) has started registration of illegal gold miners countrywide to formalise their operations. In the past the Government embarked on a blitz arresting illegal artisanal and small-scale miners saying the miners were not formalised and their activities threatened the environment.
Because the illegal miners were not registered, Zimbabwe was losing a lot of revenue as gold from artisanal and small-scale miners was in some instances illicitly traded depriving the Government of revenue.
ZASMC president Mr Wellington Takavarasha told Business Chronicle yesterday that the national registration of the miners started in Gwanda in Matabeleland South province.
The province is one of the regions with the highest number of gold deposits as well as artisanal and small-scale miners.
Mr Takavarasha said the registration exercise was also spreading to other gold mining regions.
“We have already started the registration of artisanal and small-scale miners.
“The exercise started with Gwanda over the weekend and is spreading to other regions.
“When we got to their mining sites, they were around 600 and we managed to register 200 on the ground as some ran away when they saw our teams,” he said.
Mr Takavarasha said formalisation of artisanal and small-scale miners involved among others identification of the claims they were working on.
“If they are working on somebody’s land and there is a land dispute between the miner and the farmer as a council we will assist them secure claims elsewhere.
“Formalisation of artisanal and small-scale miners also helps them to benefit from workshops the council conducts to educate the miners on proper mining methods,” said Mr Takavarasha.
Formalisation of artisanal and small-scale miners operations was also expected to go a long way in ensuring that gold from the miners in the sector was sold through legal channels.
ZASMC estimates that artisanal and small-scale mining sector directly employs about 500 000 people in Zimbabwe on a full time, seasonal or occasional basis.
Meanwhile, a meeting that was scheduled to be held today at the Zimbabwe School of Mines in Bulawayo to address artisanal and small-scale miners on matters affecting their operations by Mines and Mining Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu has been rescheduled to 28 June.