Dumisani Nsingo, Business Reporter
THE Environmental Management Agency (Ema) has revised a number of its regulations hindering artisanal and small-scale miners’ operations as it forges ahead to ensure the mining sector contributes immensely to the growth of the country’s economy.
Speaking at a Press conference in Bulawayo recently Ema board chairperson Ambassador Zenzo Nsimbi said the environment regulatory body was revising its licensing regulations as part of its efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the mining sector.
“Ema has had a look at the impact of charges that are incurred by small-scale miners to start. In line with the ease of doing business Ema has revised the regulations that affect the small-scale miners,” said Amb Nsimbi.
The country’s miners, who have to contend with at least 16 different laws regulating the sector, have over the years been pushing Government to harmonise legislation to cut unnecessary expenses and improve the business environment.
“We have come up with a package where we say a small-scale miner can buy that package. Once they have got that package at an affordable fee, we then monitor them according to how they adhere to that package,” said Amb Nsimbi.
He said the regulations “package” would go a long way in reducing the cost of obtain Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) certificates.
“That package will avoid them going to expensive consultancy in order to get their EIAs,” said Amb Nsimbi.
The move by Ema is expected to play a big part in improving artisanal and small-scale miners’ production.
Artisanal miners are now the country’s primary gold producers accounting for 53 percent of the gold delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners in 2017.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation spokesperson Mr Dosman Mangisi said the move by Ema would go a long way towards formalising activities by artisanal and small-scale miners.
“The move by Ema is a positive approach towards regularising small-scale miners’ activities and operations considering that they have made an Environmental Management Plan (EMP)with a very affordable fee. It is also in the same manner when we look into the fees. The fees were in line with the EIA and we need to come up with fees in-line with the EMP that they have enacted so that it suits the package,” said Mr Mangisi.