'Increased taxes weigh down miners'

HARARE - Increased mining fees and service charges are heavily weighing down Zimbabwe’s miners, the country’s Chamber of Mines (CoM) said.

Winston Chitando, the Chamber’s outgoing president, told CoM’s 74th annual general meeting in Nyanga that fragmented statutory and fiscal charges to the industry remained a major issue affecting viability and growth of the industry.

He said the miners were facing increased operating costs.

Royalties stand at seven percent for gold, 10 percent for platinum and 15 percent for diamonds with effect from January 2012.

“This came at a time when the fiscal burden from other charges had also increased, resulting in a significant shift upwards in production costs.

“In early 2012, there was a steep increase in mining fees and charges relating mostly to acquisition and maintenance of mining titles,” said Chitando.

He said the Chamber had engaged government and discussions were ongoing to have these changes streamlined and benchmarked with other mining jurisdictions.

“Other charges include RDC unit tax, Environmental Management Agency (Ema) discharge fees, MMCZ levy, Mandata levy, Standards Development Levy among others.

“The introduction of fees under the Radiation Protection Act and the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ) Act added to these costs,” said Chitando.

He added that CoMZ engaged Ema during the year on issues that range from lining of mining waste dumps, fees for exploiting the environment, fees for review of environmental impact assessment, shortages of cyanide on the market among other issues.

Chitando also highlighted that 39 fatal accidents had been reported in the mining industry during the period January to December 2012 compared to 36 during the same period last year.

He said the fatal accidents reported in 2012 resulted in 44 fatalities compared to 40 fatalities for the same period in 2011 adding that mines affiliated to the CoMZ contributed 20,5 percent of the total fatal accidents in 2012 compared to 11 percent in 2011.

“As most of the fatal accidents are reported at mines not affiliated to CoMZ, there is need for collaborative efforts through the CGME’s office aimed at tackling accidents at mines not affiliated to CoMZ,”said Chitando. - Kudzai Chawafambira, recently in Nyanga

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