Prospectors cry foul over abuse of office by Mines Ministry

Zimbabwe Prospectors Association (ZPA) has castigated the Ministry of Mines for appointing too many incompetent mining technical teams citing that it has to re-introduce the engineering department which is headed by mining engineers.

In an interview with Zimmorningpost, ZPA president Samsom Dzingwe said the Ministry of Mines created problems when they removed mining commissioners and replacing them with incompetent technical teams.

The problem was created by Ministry of Mines when they removed mining commissioners illegally, Mining commissioner knew how to uphold and administer the mines and minerals Act contrary to the technical provincial mining directors who are just novices to mining commissioner and are failing to solve even petty disputes timeously with such inexperienced staff thus the reason why we are having a created decrease in production by the ministry itself,” said Dzingwe.

ZPA secretary general Timothy Chizuzu said the technical offices are overstaffed with incompetent people who spend the day with little to do.

“The new system which saw the appointment of technical people to take over the administration of mining rights was introduced after ministry of mines abolished the mining commissioner post citing corruption and malpractices.”

“The mining commissioners’ office was by then run by less than 12 people and by then the level of disputes was low as officers were not directly involved with clients.”

Currently one province for example has over 30 officers, who are not relevant in the issuance of mining titles and most of them have no work to do and they end up pegging for clients and doing shoddy deals to make money.”

I think that the ministry should revert to the old system which is stated in the mines and minerals act 21:05 and return the mining commissioners and stop duplication of prospectors work by surveyors which is costly and yet not yielding any positive results but instead is causing more problems,” said Chizuzu.

Dzingwe blamed the ministry for failing to reserve some mineable areas for the locals during the issuance of the Exclusive Exploration Orders (EPOs) in the country.

We told them but they don’t listen to stakeholders no wonder why they went on carpeting the whole country with E.P.O’S without consulting affected stakeholders and cared little about their plight despite the fact that the blanketing of E.P.O’S across all mining provinces in the whole country without precluding certain mineable areas for the locals speak volume on how the ministry value their stakeholders,” said Dzingwe.

Last week at the Mashonaland Central, scores of surveyors and technical staff including the province’s Mining Director Malcom Mazemo were suspended by the Mines Ministry.

The alleged corrupt officials were implicated in an array of corrupt activities including double allocation of Special gold mining grants, tampering with site beacons, forging documents and misrepresenting facts to the head office among others.

Dzingwe castigated the suspension of these surveyors and technical teams citing that even top officials in the ministry are involved in these malpractices.

Some special grants are now issued direct from Head office overriding provinces against procedures the system is now choky….they created the system and it have failed…thus the Honourable must not be seized with what is happening in provinces because they contribute mostly to whatever problem the ministry of Mines is facing right now,” said Dzingwe.

On E.P.O’S issue we are aware that some ministry of mines top officials are also involved in the ownership and yet they don’t have capacity and do not qualify accordance to section 87 of Mines and minerals Act chapter 2015 Part VI. Some companies who apply for E.P.O’S might be taking advantage of the sloppiness and opaqueness of the issuing board,” said Dzingwe.

Reports reaching us state that Ministry of Mines has been holding the gold sector at ransom by failing to expeditiously resolve conflicts bedeviling small scale miners leading to underproduction of gold in the country.

Meanwhile, the law states that once disputes arise between miners, they cannot continue mining.The negligence by the Ministry in dealing with these conflicts is leading to the underproduction of gold in the country.

The Ministry plans to grow mineral revenue from a projected 4,2 Billion this year to 12 Billion by 2023.