Villagers from Ngundu in Chivi district have pleaded with the government to do away with the Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) which currently puts over 65 000 hectares of gold-rich land in their area under protection.
An Exclusive Prospecting Order is issued in terms of Part VI of the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05), of Zimbabwe.
It reserves a specified area and bars people from prospecting for minerals in that area unless they are expressly given special rights by the government.
It confers exclusive rights to prospect for specified minerals in any identified location in the country.
Ngundu Mining Association chairperson Nyasha Ngundu said the 65 000 hectares covered under the EPO should be released to small scale miners from the community so that the resources can benefit the local community.
“These EPOs should simply be removed so that locals can benefit from their natural resources. We have a lot of gold here and it is our belief that we can benefit a lot as a community and district especially considering that we do not count much on agriculture.
“We have engaged the Zimbabwe Mining Federation for help and we hope our efforts will pay off one day so that we let the locals benefit from the resources,” said Ngundu.
Chivi South Member of Parliament Munyaradzi Zizhou said he would use his power to influence change at policy level so that locals benefit from their natural resources.
“We have a lot of gold here but the challenge is that we can’t exploit it because the vast tracts of land are under protection of EPO.
“This is something which we hope that our government under the able leadership of President Mnangagwa will address so the communities start benefiting from their resources,” said Zizhou.
With the proliferation of Chinese miners in the country, fears are high that the 65 000 hectares will be given to the Chinese since the government announced that plans were in place to set up a big gold mining venture in Ngundu.
Many people feel that ruling Zanu PF party politicians are influencing the granting of EPOs to exclude ordinary citizens from potentially very lucrative mining areas.
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