Fee for mining strategic minerals too high, miners lobby govt

Small-scale miners have lobbied the government to reduce the entry-level fee for mining strategic minerals saying it was too high even for large-scale mining companies.

According to participants during a critical stakeholder consultative meeting hosted by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, Thursday in Bulawayo, the proposed entry-level fee of US$100 million is an unreasonable amount that needs to be reviewed.

A geologist, Gayle Hansen, highlighted that US$100 million is too high for miners even for large-scale mining companies.

The bill, among other issues, covers transparency in the licensing regime of mining titles, recognition of provincial mining directors and devolution of mining sector administration royalty, equality, and equity of mining fees across provinces and local authorities.

Schedule 2 of the Mines Bill identifies nine minerals as strategic, namely diamonds, rare earth minerals, lithium, and copper, nuclear energy source materials such as uranium; mineral oils, gaseous hydrocarbons, coal and nickel.

During the deliberations, a small-scale miner participant noted that the Bill should be specific on the procedure to be taken should strategic minerals be found in their (small-scale miners) mines.

“We need clarity on the procedure to be taken should a small-scale miner find strategic minerals in their mines. If this issue is not cleared it may lead to corruption because miners would not declare,” he said.

“It is important that there be a consensus that under such circumstances, the government would capacitate small-scale miners on how to handle these kind of minerals so that both parties can benefit.”

A representative from the Mines Ministry explained that strategic minerals are still work in progress and there might be more discoveries of such minerals as time goes on.

He noted that should a miner find a mineral outside what they initially declared, it is important to let the relevant authorities know, assuring that nothing would disturb the initial operations unless if there are extraordinary circumstances. 

Another small-scale miner said the Bill should include a clause that prohibits people without mining licenses from purchasing mining equipment because they are the ones that cause havoc.

“There is a need to regulate buying some equipment such as detectors and hammer mills. Anyone who buys these should be a holder of a registered mine. These are the people that create problems for us in our sector,” the participant said.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button