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Mudha warns errant miners

MARTIN MAWAYA

GWERU –Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, Owen Ncube has warned errant miners who violate the country’s extractive statutes, saying the full wrath of the law will soon descend on them heavily.

Speaking at the mining stakeholders’ interactive meeting held at the Gweru Polytechnic College recently, Ncube expressed displeasure over some irresponsible mining practices in the province and called on the authorities to take drastic action against such malpractices.

He implored miners to employ ethical and responsible mining practices, as global markets now consider the long-term impact of extraction methods on the environment, as well as human rights issues.

“I urge Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Local Authorities and EMA to descend heavily on errant mining entities violating Statutory Provisions. All mining areas should operate in line with the clean air and green environment approach,” he said.

The minister acknowledged that while the mining sector has registered growth, the industry has suffered from some unintended outcomes that negatively affect sustainable mining.

Well connected miners cause havoc in Shurugwi.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may all be aware, due to the Second Republic’s policy of opening up the economy to private sector led modernisation and industrialization underpinned by massive bold legislative reforms and financial inclusivity programs, mineral production has sky-rocketed to record levels with some entities in the Midlands Province producing in excess of 40kgs of gold per month,” said the minister.

“The growth of the mining sector has its fair share of unintended outcomes that negatively affect sustainable mining. Provisions of Statutory Instruments such as SI 109 of 1990, Mining (Management and Safety) Regulations which provides for establishment and submission of survey maps as well as underground plans to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development have been violated,” added Ncube.

The former State Security minister also emphasized that miners should comply with the provision of protective clothing for mining workers, as it is both a safety and regulatory requirement.

“With regards to the provisions of the Mining (Health and Sanitation) Regulations, all miners are advised to ensure provision of clean water, ablution facilities and provide health services to all employees in compliance with the tenets of our national vision of an upper middle income society earlier than 2030,” said Ncube.

He also urged miners to avoid buying explosives from unregistered suppliers and to desist from using these explosives without adhering to standard safety procedures.

The minister emphasized that there should be no compromise in the provision of social infrastructure and services in mining areas, urging the sector to complement government initiatives.

“I urge the Mining Sector to emulate Government by providing decent housing, ablution facilities, quality roads, water reticulation and recreational facilities for their workers and communities in their areas of operation. Since the inception of the Second Republic, Devolution and Decentralisation Policy now underpins development of critical infrastructure like housing, roads, boreholes, dams, and power generation” explained Ncube.

Ncube applauded some mining entities for their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs implemented in Shurugwi, Mberengwa, and Zvishavane, where they funded projects such as borehole drilling and equipping communities, establishment of nutrition gardens, and solar electrification of healthcare facilities, among others.

He stated that CSR should address local community needs and problems to make it sustainable and mutually beneficial.

“I, therefore, urge other mining entities to follow these sustainable socio-economic interventions covering areas such as Food and Nutrition Security, Drug and Substance Abuse Mitigation, Gender-Based Violence elimination, Communicable Diseases Control, and the provision of Health and Education support,” added Ncube.

Furthermore, the minister highlighted that the government is seized with the empowerment of Small-Scale and Artisanal Miners through financial and equipment support by banks, microfinance institutions, and mining associations.

In addition, Ncube stated that the Mines and Minerals Act is being amended to address pre-colonial mining inconsistencies that hinder easy access to mining licenses, cause farmer-miner conflicts, and address fiscal issues such as taxation, among others.

He called on miners to pay their statutory dues to authorities, as well as selling their gold and minerals to approved buyers like Fidelity, as such practices enable the country to account for its wealth measured in GDP terms.

According to 2022 Zimstat statistics, the mining sector contributed 27.7 percent towards the provincial GDP, as the sector continues to be a vital cog in economic growth for the Midlands province and the nation at large.

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