the local community 2.
None the less, Patrick points out economic necessities force many Zimbabwean citizens to become illegal miners. "They are called illegal as they do not have permits allowing them to operate, because its hard for them to get a permit. In the end whatever they mine finds its way into the hands of the government as these people are not able to sell outside the country. Basically it means the government has agents who own mining permits, but they don't work on the ground. That's why these people are not able to take the measures to protect themselves." Aside from missing much of the economic benefits these miners enjoy no workmans compensation or insurance benefits. On a Wednesday night, when illegal miners went to work with their picks and shovels at the Globe and Phoenix mine they had no idea at least 2 would be found dead the next day by the local Civil Protections Unit. While there were reports of 20 others being trapped, it is not possible to know if more perished as there were no records of who or how many went to work the night before. The dangers faced are further complicated by the gangs of workers trying to protect their turf as they survive economic realities 3.
It may very well be that the government holds the key to turning these problems into a solution. By first fast tracking permits authorizing work 'illegal miners' are already doing, order could be brought to this chaos. Attaching safety standards and penalties would protect these working artisan miners who could never achieve the efficiencies of the mining corporations. Zimbabwean citizens could benefit from gold deposits not dense enough to justify further investment and help reveal not yet found deposits. Second, establishing a buying board where artisan miners could receive a fair price for their work would transfer black market margins into both revenue to the miners and immediate government taxation revenue set into the price offered. Of course, artisan miners may choose to use the gold for jewellery or art pieces to increase the value of their work although delaying receipt of revenue and taxes. Regardless, these two steps would; increase gold production for Zimbabwean gold reserves, undermine the impact of gang violence, enhance worker safety and MOST IMPORTANTLY open up a much needed avenue to poverty reduction for the average Zimbabwean.
1 Editorial, Mining Zimbabwe, 01, 2020 Pg.4
2 Canadian Company Takes Over Majority Holding Of Zim’s Biggest Gold Mining Company After Relaxation Of Indigenisation Laws, ZimEye.Net , News, Jan 22, 2020
3 Two die in Zimbabwe gold mine collapse, Reuters, Feb 6th, 2020