Article by Nomathemba Ndlovu
surrounding areas are rich in gold deposits and popular with artisanal miners,
known locally as “Makorokoza” or hustlers, who use picks and shovels
and generator-powered water pumps. The makeshift shafts and tunnels, dotted around
a clearing some 8 km from the main dirt road, can easily collapse in the rainy
season when the ground is soft. Sometime in February 2019 the Battlefield
experienced what was termed a national disaster. Families lost their bread
winners, children lost their fathers, mothers lost their children and wives
lost their husband. Who will ever comfort this widow, left with children to
feed, rents to pay, a role to become a mother and a father.
“My son is in there. I did not see him when
they brought out the others. No one is saying anything, how are we supposed to
know what is happening?,” said Sekai Maziwisa, a 56-year-old mother of
three. Another women mentioned that three of her children were trapped in the
mine. Three graves in one house, children stolen by death can never be
replaced. I urge counsellors to support these families time and again. There is
need to hold these women’s hand show her love. Depression leads to bitterness
and bitterness to death.
ZIMBABWE Miners Federation (ZMF)
during a breakfast meeting convened by ZELA after the Battle field disaster, to
find a solution to such national disastors announced that the Artisanal Small
Scale Mining (ASM) Sector’s gold output has improved to 65 percent in a
development that will bolster the country’s capability to earn the much needed
foreign currency. ZMF president, Henrietta Rushwaya said that the sector was
immensely contributing towards the gross domestic product.
2017, the ASM sector produced 13 tonnes which was 53 percent of the total gold
output. The first half deliveries by small scale miners has seen the figure
drastically going up to 65 percent in 2018.from the current figures presented
by Fidelity Printers and Refiners it is clear that the small scale miners gold
deliveries will definitely contribute to quite significantly surpassing the
national target of 22 tonnes,” she said
African Mining Vision (AMV) recognizes Artisanal and Small-Mining activities as
important in promoting sustainable livelihoods and reducing poverty in
resource-rich countries on the continent. There are approximately eight (8)
million artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM), with over 45 million dependents
on the continent. Economic contributions by ASM have been substantial with
global statistics indicating that 5% of gold and 25% of tin are from this
sector. In Zimbabwe, the mining sector has increasingly become the mainstay of
the economy accounting for over 60% of the national forex earnings in past
decade. However, ASMs are facing a number of binding constraints and the major
ones include; absence of a policy recognizing their work, poor mining methods
leading to environmental degradation and inadequate capital to boost
extraction of gold is coming at a huge cost to the natural environment and to
other land users. Zimbabwe has a total land area of 39,6 million hectares and
it is estimated that 200 500 square metres of that land has been extensively
damaged by illegal ASM activities F. Nyahwa (2017).
- There is need for
Formalization of ASM, Tanzania, Malawi and other countries have done it,
- Decriminalization of
ASM, the miners are a part of the society, Zimbabwe is facing 90% of levels of
unemployment, ASM is contributing to our economy, why not meet them half way.
- The Ministry of Mines
and ASM associations need to develop a comprehensive cost structure that is
affordable to the sector. (Angeline Gutu 2017)
Awareness: The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and stakeholders need to
raise awareness and to educate ASM on sustainable mining methods.
- Amendment to the Mines
and Minerals Act: Parliament should ensure that the amendment to the Mines and
Minerals Act fully define and recognize artisanal and small-scale miners.
- Mining Taxation: The
Minister of Finance need to rationalize the taxation structure in the mining
sector in line with promoting the ease of doing business so as to encourage
investment into the sector.