Cartographer shortage hits MashonalandWest – Mining Zimbabwe

THE lack of a full complement of cartographers at Mashonaland…

THE lack of a full complement of cartographers at Mashonaland West’s Ministry of Mines and Mining Development office is hindering the pace of mine registration, which has at times triggered ownership disputes.

The shortage of cartographers, whose work involves drawing or producing maps, has caused a huge backlog of applications for registration of mining titles.

A cartographer is the entry point in the mining verification and registration process with their major role being to produce cartography diagrams.

The Mashonaland West Mines ministry office is currently operating with a single cartographer, a development that has delayed the formalisation of artisanal and small-scale miners’ operations.

Speaking during the ministry’s consultation programme on Mineral Development Policy, Value Addition and Beneficiation, and Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) strategies this week, stakeholders lamented the cumbersome process under which miners go through before being awarded licences.

Pikirayi Chinoramba-Chimurenga of Norton highlighted the bureaucratic bottlenecks at the mines office, amid consensus from participants to decentralise operations to districts in the true spirit of the government’s devolution agenda.

Stakeholders decried the slow pace at which applications for mine title registration are processed, which the authorities defended pointing to a shortage of cartographers who are integral in the process, in addition to a lack of field vehicles and fuel.

Responding to the concerns raised during the meeting, Mashonaland West provincial mining director, Sibongubuhle Mpindiwa confirmed the shortage of cartographers that is hampering the ministry’s field operations, coupled with resource constraints facing the only cartographer available.

“Mashonaland West is a busy mining province and there has been a significant rise in the interest in mining as everyone dares to try their luck in small-scale mining. The ground verification process and the interest of plenty of people have resulted in a mining title registration backlog.

“Ground verification process needs resources and there was a moment some four to five years back when we were struggling as a ministry although it is now improving.

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“We sometimes go for months without processing these papers due to limited resources to do the ground verification process. The smooth flow of the process is then held up by a shortage of cartographers as the Mashonaland West office currently operates with one,” Mpindiwa said.

“However, efforts are being made through our permanent secretary to ensure that we are capacitated,” she added.

Mpindiwa reiterated her office’s commitment to clear the mounting backlog of mine title registration.

The ministry’s senior minerals development officer, Taurai Dhliwayo, said through the Mineral Development Policy, the government was working to introduce a computerised cadastral system known for effective service delivery to the mining industry.

The cadastral system collects data relating to official and legal documentation concerning the quantity, dimensions, location, value, tenure, and ownership of individual parcels of land, thereby curtailing disputes over mining claims.

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