GOVERNMENT should expedite the implementation of the”use it or lose it” concept as announced by President Mnangagwa so as to unlock new economic opportunity and create more jobs, small-scale miners have said.
They said the President’s directive was important as the mining sector was one of the key economic pillars and a major foreign currency earner.
During a recent youth indaba in Harare, President Mnangagwa said mining companies holding onto claims should either use them or risk losing them to the State even if they are paying fees to keep the claims.
He said there were some big conglomerates that have been holding on to mining claims for more than 60 years, thereby denying new players an opportunity to venture into the mining sector.
Business woman and Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, said the implementation of the “use it or lose it” policy would assist in improved production targets going forward hence need to operationalise it soon.
“Certainly nothing can stop us from meeting our targets if we get Government support. Government must implement the “use or lose it” policy.
“The President should be hailed for such a move but the implementation process should also be favourable. We don’t want a situation where the concept will be abused to benefit a few,” she said.
Rushwaya said there were some big mining companies that have been holding on to mining claims for many years for speculative purposes but with no production going on.
“We have areas which have been held on for the past years for speculative purposes. If a conglomerate has been holding on to mining claims since 1930 for speculative purposes, let them be given to small-scale miners, to our artisanal miners.
“That way we would have eradicated unemployment, we would have eradicated illegal mining activities as well as promoting safe mining methods,” she said.
Young Miners Federation co-founder and president, Payne Kupfuwa said the move by President Mnangagwa should benefit youths in mining who have been neglected for long.
“Indeed we are in total support of the move by the president. It is time youths in mining benefit from such a move. We have been neglected for a long time.
“As youths it’s high time we own our own claims and not work for our parents or wait to be employed.
“I think it was not by coincidence that President Mnangagwa announced this during a youth indaba, it should tell you that he cares about the youths and we are ready to accept the challenge and deliver,” said Kupfuwa.
The pronouncement comes as gold deliveries in the first quarter of the year to Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR), took a 10 percent knock compared to the same period last year.
Deliveries in the first three months of the year totalled 6,5 tonnes down from 7,3 tonnes delivered same time last year.
The decline could dent the sole buyer’s 2019 target of a record 40 tonnes, which was set on the back of record breaking deliveries of 33,2 tonnes last year.
Of note, however, on the first quarterly statistics, is the continued dominance of small-scale miners over their primary producers with 64,6 percent of the deliveries having come from the former most of whom rely on rudimentary mining methods.