A newly established trust is set to ease the plight of people who were affected by mine closures by pushing for the release and the return of underutilised claims to the former miners and the community in a move likely to increase the volumes of gold deliveries to the Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
Zimbabwe could be losing millions of dollars in potential revenue as big mining giants are holding on to claims for speculative purposes while some mines are said to be closing viable operations in what some former owners claim to be actions aimed at sabotaging the country’s economic revival efforts.
It emerged during a stakeholders meeting of victims of closed mines that some big corporates were now targeting small scale miners they had previously ceded some mining claims and are now demanding them back after realising that the artisanal miners have become the biggest contributors to the country’s gold reserves as the new dispensation comes to their rescue.
Dalny Mine Allocated and Unutilised Claims Trust Secretary General Mr James Chikwange said his organisation had to chip in and ensure that Zimbabweans participate in the country’s rebuilding exercise.
“We have carried out a big survey across the country. You will find that in most of the closed mines there is gold that is readily available. What is of interest is that if illegal panners enter they come out with huge stocks of gold and the question is why then were the mines closed. This can’t be allowed and we went to court and won and with the help of local political leaders we are on the ground,” he said.
A member of the women Victims in Closed Mines and Unutilised Claims Trust and a former miner who is a victim of closed mines gave some sobbing testimonies of the hardships they were subjected to as a result of what they claim to be unjustified closure of productive mines.
Zimbabweans are now pinning their hopes on the enactment of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which seeks to address some of the critical issues affecting the mining sector.