Picture showing an example of calculations involved in gold trade

Government is warming up to the idea of formalising artisanal mining through a special permit. Recently, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe disclosed that $15 million is being paid weekly to over 300,000 artisanal miners. Through formalising artisanal mining, government has an opportunity to earn the country much needed foreign currency. Also, this is in line with the constitutional provision that directs the state to put in place mechanism to ensure communities benefit from the exploitation of natural resources in their localities. Currently, the mining Technical Working Group on ease of doing business reforms is considering terms and conditions for a special permit on artisanal mining.

The matrix below is still a draft that has benefited from the input given by various stakeholders from ASM associations, CSOs and ministry of mines officials. Interested parties are encouraged to give their input.

Action Comments
The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill must differentiate artisanal mining and small scale mining through the creation of a special mining title ideal for artisanal mining The Mines and Minerals Act and the draft Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill are silent on artisanal mining.
Artisanal mining should be defined through surface area and depth of the mining pit, number of employees, approved basic tools and equipment, a capital threshold and operating in designated area.


There is no universal definition of artisanal mining. This definition takes into consideration the parameters used in other jurisdictions like Tanzania, DRC and Mali
The suggested definition of artisanal mining is “any person or group of persons of Zimbabwean nationality authorised to carry mining activities in a designated ASM area using basic tools like as picks, shovels and wheelbarrows, the capital should not exceed $1000 should not exceed 10 employees maximum surface area 1 hectare, a maximum depth of 30 meters and the cite shall not have permanent infrastructure. Capital threshold has been capped to $1000 to manage the risk of small scale miners operating through an artisanal mining permit. likewise, to encourage development of artisanal mining into small scale mining. The maximum surface area for artisanal mining one tenth of a standard gold mining block. Maximum depth is pegged at 30m to manage safety and health risks.
Anyone convicted of a crime should not be given or should lose a artisanal mining permit. As a goodwill kick start the permit – licenses should be made available to those whose criminal record is only of a misdemeanours involving gold possession…An unorthodox method to ensure the social contract adherence to rules and procedures of the new permit, but also a gesture to indicate that business as usual is changing…


Government must survey and designated areas viable for profitable artisanal mining in each mining district. The opening up of reserved areas and forfeited claims offer opportunities for government to undertake this exercise. Artisanal mining designated cites manage the risk of having a mining title system that is rendered impracticable due to limited access to claims.
Mining companies must be proactive to set aside claims for artisanal mining acquired through tributary arrangements. Small scale miners are the main beneficiaries of current tributary arrangements with large scale miners. Thus, large scale miners should be encouraged to set aside claims for artisanal mining.
A mining title shall be available to any Zimbabwean above the age of 18 for a nominal fee be included $10


$200 is required to register a standard mining block of 10 hectares. Given that proposed artisanal mining surface area is 1 hectare, a tenth of the surface area for small scale mining, a $20 fee is applicable on pro rata basis. However, to promote artisanal mining, we are recommending a $10 fee.
An artisanal mining permit should be processed at local government level to avoid prohibitive distance of traveling to provincial mining offices to acquire a mining title. The Ministry of mine is responsible for issuing the artisanal mining permit although this responsibility can be delegated to local government. Local governments have environment officers who can be trained to assist ministry of mines with administration of an artisanal mining permit.
Adequate fiscal support to the Ministry of Mines is necessary to cater from the administrative burden emanating from issuing and monitoring of the artisanal mining permit. Without adequate fiscal support, it is difficult for the Ministry to efficiently administer the artisanal mining permit.
Environment Impact Assessments should be carried out by government for all designated artisanal mining areas. The operators should be given a prospectus which will indicate how they are going to rehabilitate


Since the authorised area for artisanal mining is restricted to 1 hectare per operator, it is ideal to have group EIAs. Government should take lead to avoid burdening artisanal miners with compliance costs which can fuel illegal mining.
A rehabilitation fund should be established through a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme more or less similar to Fairmined or Faitrade standards


Fidelity Printers and Refineries to pay a premium to artisanal gold miners that is paid on condition that artisanal miners are operating responsibly on environmental, social and safety aspects
A one year tenure for the mining title renewable for a maximum of 3 years


Artisanal mining should be encouraged as a transitional mechanism to small scale mining. Hence the need to cap the renewal period to 3 years.
Gold production should not be used to define artisanal mining Alluvial gold mining is characterised by nuggets and it is important to encourage transparency in gold sales without the risk of losing the license.