Youths in Bubi District, Matabeleland North, have called for the reduction of high mining licence fees citing them as a hindrance to securing claims.
Bubi is endowed with an array of mineral deposits namely gold, diamonds, nickel and copper.
The young people raised this call during a Youth Indaba held by Habakkuk Trust in Bulawayo recently.
The indaba, whose objective was for youths to interface with duty bearers on challenges they face in the capital-intensive industry, attracted representatives from Gwanda, Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Insiza and Matobo.
Speaking during the meeting, Johannes Silandu, a youth from Bubi, said the mining fees were beyond the reach of many and and as a result they were losing them to outsiders.
“As youths in Bubi district we have low chances of having mining licences in the claims due to high licence fees,” said Silandu.
“Our area is rich in gold but as young people from the area we are not benefiting from the gold claims in our area. You now find people who have money coming from other areas to own these claims, whilst as young people from the area we do not have access to the claims,” he said.
Another participant, Lawrence Ngulube, said the issue had affected many young people in the area who are also unemployed.
“The issue of claims has affected many young people in the area as they are now idle watching their minerals being taken away by outsiders,” he said.
Ngulube said there was a need to revisit the fees to benefit the youths and develop the area.
“This issue is affecting us as young people of Bubi district, it is very painful to watch people coming from some areas to get the minerals. As people of the area we are supposed to be benefiting and developing our area, but that is not happening as mining licence fees are just too high making us unable to get them since we are unemployed,” he said.
He said in an ideal environment, locals should be given first preference.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) spokesperson, Dosman Mangisi, denied that mining licences were expensive and blamed it on the youths whom he said were not serious in securing the mining licences.
“I do not think those licenses are expensive because they are only ZW$200 for two years, of which it is ZW$100 a year,” he said.
Mangisi added that: “The Zimbabwe Mining Act allows people to operate as syndicates, so if youths from Bubi district were serious about securing licenses, I do not think they would fail to operate in groups and raise ZW$600 for them to secure these licences.”