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Small scale miners in Shamva have called on Government to confiscate claims from people who are holding onto them for speculative purposes saying the practice was affecting the country’s ability to increase gold production.

Speaking at a public hearing during a tour by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy last week, the miners said the mining sector had the potential to create jobs.

“We have a lot of gold deposits in this area but the problem we have is that there are some people who are holding up to 70 claims but are not utilising them,” said Mr Masimba Mbanje, the chairperson of Shamva Miners Association. “Mining has the potential to create employment if the claims are distributed evenly. We have the potential to contribute towards Zim-Asset if we are given the opportunity.”

Ward 20 councillor Cde Ernest Manyara said some white former commercial farmers were returning and were using senior Government officials to dispossess people of their claims.

He said Government should come up with support schemes for mining in the same way it supported agriculture.

“Mining has been identified as key to economic development, but we are not getting enough support from Government,” he said. A female miner, Mrs Chipo Chimwazha, complained that women were finding it hard to break into the male dominated mining field.

“As women miners we are finding it hard to survive in this field,” she said. “We are being displaced from our claims by some men, especially those that have rich deposits. Most men take aantage of the fact that most women are ignorant of rules and regulations governing mining.”

The Shamva miners urged Fidelity Printers to decentralise gold buying centres to protect them from unscrupulous buyers.

Source : The Herald