By Mukudzeyi Chikasha
Small scale and artisinal miners have lamented on foreigners mainly Chinese who are coming into the country disguised as investors but in actual fact they are coming into the country to be artisinal miners.
The concerns were raised during the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) press conference held in Gweru recently.
Disgruntled miners told the ZMF leadership that most Chinese are depriving locals of mining claims whilst they are possessing such claims for speculation.
“It is so unfair that some Chinese are buying gold claims for speculation. One Chinese can have 20 gold claims which he sells for a fortune back home whilst a Zimbabwean does not own even one claim. Some of the foreigners are more of artisinal miners than investors. They are not bringing any value which we expect from an investor,” a small scale miner said.
Small scale miners are currently faced with a plethora of challenges.
ZMF Secretary General Morgan Magawu said artisinal and small scale miners are faced with shortage of explosives, late approval of certificates and exorbitant fees being charged by councils.
Maguwu lamented that this has led to rampant hoarding of explosives which are then redistributed at a higher price.
This together has resulted in miners ending up making marginal profits after incurring extra costs on acquiring explosives.
“In Zimbabwe the issue of explosives is affecting all miners small and large scale. Wiltshire being the solo manufacturer at the moment had downsized as a result of the covid pandemic. As ZMF we are working on organizing for our members so that they have access to explosives straight from suppliers not middleman,” he said.
Magawu said Kwekwe based explosives manufacturing firm Intrachem has agreed to the decantraliszation of the mining explosives.
“IntraChem also agreed to offer regional deliveries of explosives thus they will be decentralization of explosives acquisition,” he said.
Meanwhile, the secretary general has said incarcerated ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya is still the association leader as she, “is still innocent until proven guilty thus she is still constitutionally the office bearer.”
Rushwaya who has been suspended from ZMF was earlier this month busted with 6kgs of gold at Robert Mugabe Airport in Harare enroute to Dubai.
The ZMF Executive said a forensic audit has cleared Rushwaya on abuse of office allegations.
“A forencic audit that we conducted cleared her of all allegations that she was abusing the organisation’s funds,” he said.