BULAWAYO, July 19 (The Source) — Zimbabwe is planning to release one million hectares of protected land to small-scale gold miners across the country to boost production, Mines and Development deputy minister, Fred Moyo has said, a development that threatens wildlife areas.
Moyo told journalists at the on-going Mining, Engineering and Transport (Mine Entra) expo that the land would be released very “soon”.
“The geology is largely gold so those provinces that have got more gold than others obviously will have more hectarage but we are releasing in all the provinces. It’s basically happening now and paperwork is in the process of being signed,” Moyo said.
“Remember these will be protected areas and we are removing the protection and once these are lifted people can go and peg in the normal way that they do. Last week I signed one in Mashonaland West, one in the Midlands, and there was one in Masvingo.”
Zimbabwe has six categories of protected land; national parks, gazetted forests, botanical reserves, botanical gardens, safari areas and 15 recreational parks and sanctuaries.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation president, Aplonia Munzverengwi told The Source that some miners were already mining in state-reserved areas.
“Right now, those activities they are informal and people are taking the gold to the black market. The (mines) ministry has now managed to identify those State reserved areas where they are going to release land,” she said.
“As soon as the land is officially released they should register their activities and they will be able to access loans from (government owned gold buyer) Fidelity, mechanisation and the working capital.”