BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The government would to increase statutory fees for the mining sector by almost 300% in a move that has raised the ire of mining representative bodies.
Application fees for platinum and chrome (ordinary prospecting licence) will now be pegged at RTGS$1 750 from US$500 apiece, and an application for revocation and forfeiture at RTGS$3 500 from US$1 000.
Application for an EPO (non-refundable) were put at RTGS$7 000 from US$2 000, mining lease at RTGS$7 000 from US$2 000, and application for a special grant to prospect or mine (non-refundable fee) at RTGS$7 000.
A special prospecting licence per mining district would be RTGS$2 625, special prospecting licence for the whole country would be RTGS$8 750, and ordinary prospecting licence for the whole country valid for two years was put at RTGS$1 750.
Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) spokesperson Dosman Mangisi said the proposed fees were unjustifiable and would push small-scale miners out of business.
“Given that they are facing hard times already, the percentage is too high at 300-400%.
“Miners are at the receiving end currently, ranging from minerals retention, cost of mining is high with 90% being procured in forex,” he said.
“Moreover, royalties and production will be affected because also fees on the value addition and promotion are no longer affordable.
“On gold custom, miners will bear the burden, next thing more leakages, miners will seek for other routes.”
Registration fees for an approved prospector, which are paid every five years, would be at RTGS$14 000, a registration fee for chrome mine (ordinary block) (RTGS$5 250), registration fee for chrome special prospecting licence (RTGS$14 000) and a registration feel to deal in precious stones per 10 years is pegged at RTGS$70 000.
Transfer of donated block of mining claims fees (except for deceased estates) were pegged at RTGS$3 500, gold buying licence RTGS$17 500, export of raw chrome ore or concentrate per three months at RTGS$1 750, custom milling licence at RTGS$17 500.
Zimbabwe Prospectors’ Association president Samson Dzingwe said the hiking of fees was not good for business.
“The Ministry of Mines is hiking fees immediately after blanketing mining areas throughout the whole provinces with EPOs against stakeholders’ concerns or objections submitted to their attention that it is against national interest, small-scale miners and prospectors whilst opening business to large scale miners only or concession holders,” he said.
“In this regard, it is clear that they want to abort the small-scale mining business by making them extinct through hiking of fees, blanketing of EPOs across the whole country and gold mobilisation being carried out with the intention to taking mining claims from small-scale miners through technicalities and the use of ‘Use it or Lose it Policy’ which is a good policy but can be used negatively to wipe out small-scale mining and prospecting business like in this scenario.”
Dzingwe said the ratio of 55%-45% was in total contradiction compared to what was happening on the ground in the mining sector.
“Instead, this behaviour by Ministry of Mines will only cause the leakage of the yellow metal against the 40 tonne target,” he said.
“The Ministry of Mines must learn not to rush like a hog in a bush, but must listen to stakeholder concerns and inputs through consultations.”
ZMF’s vice-president representing chrome producers, Lindi Mpofu said the increment came at a time when chrome miners were facing serious challenges and would cripple indigenous businesspeople.
“Perhaps, we need to implore government to address our problems first then hike the fees because as it stands there are a lot of struggles on the ground, which could be addressed by their intervention to sort the chrome local pricing structure out,” she said.
Mpofu said raising fees when indigenous miners were struggling would affect the growth of the mining sector.