Women in Mining


Can a woman become a miner?

Yes. Women and men are encouraged to do mining as long as they have reached the right age to work.

When can you become a miner?

You can become a miner as soon as you turn 18 years of age.

Which two important laws regulate mining?

·         The Mines and Minerals Act

·         The Environmental Management Act

What are the stages to follow for getting a mining permit?

Stage 1: Prospecting: A prospecting licence is issued by the Mining Commissioner’s office (currently housed under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development);

Stage 2: Pegging to mark the boundaries of the proposed mining area;

Stage 3: Registering a mine claim with the Mining Commissioner;

Stage 4: Getting a certificate of registration from the Mining Commissioner who issues a certificate to the would-be miner;

Stage 5: Carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) required by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA);

Stage 6: Getting EIA approval certificate; and

Stage 7: Mining begins.


Which permits do you require to start mining?

·         A prospecting licence;

·         A supporting letter from the District Administrator or Municipality to show that the land is open for mining;

·         A certificate of registration from the Mining Commissioner; and

·         An EIA approval certificate from EMA.

Which other permits do you require?

·         Licences from Environmental Management Agency EMA: 

o   Solid waste disposal licence;

o   Hazardous waste licence;

o   Effluent disposal licence; and

o   Hazardous substances licence for their storage and use.

·         A permit to use and keep dynamites;

·         A permit to cut down trees in the mining location;

·         A permit to use water for mining purposes;

·         A permit to sell and buy gold; and

·         A permit to process gold.






What is legal mining?

It is mining that is done when a miner has the necessary permits to carry out mining.

What are the benefits of legal mining?

When you operate according to the law there are several benefits that you enjoy. These are:

·         When you are mining with a permit the law protects you;

·         You will not face arrest for mining illegally;

·         Your mining claim is safe and cannot be given to other miners;

·         You can apply to become a gold dealer. No one will cheat you on the price because you can sell your gold directly to Fidelity Printers and Refiners;

·         You can benefit from different training courses that are targeted to those who are in legal mining; and

·         You can become a member of an association and co-operative.


What are the benefits of becoming a member of an association on mining?

·         You can get help on applying for different mining permits;

·         You can have access to loans to buy or hire tools that are used for mining;

·         You can get trained on courses on mining; and

·         You can complain, discuss and raise sticking points to the Police or other Government Offices as a united group.


What are the courses you can be trained in?

The Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Police, EMA and NGOs can arrange courses for you such as:

·         Raising awareness on mining issues;

·         Increasing understanding of the law on mining;

·         The important steps that are required to get mining permits;

·         How to mine safely and taking care of the environment;

·         How to practice safer methods of processing minerals such as gold;

·         How to move away from actual mining into making jewellery;

·         How to keep dynamites in a safe way;

·         Dealing with domestic violence and sexual harassment;

·         How to form an association and co-operative on mining; and

The benefits of being a member of an association



 It involves the search for mineral deposits such as gold, diamond, tin, platinum and iron. It also involves reviewing of maps and reports. The mineral exploitation activities include:

Prospecting involves the searching for mineral deposits by taking soil samples to the laboratory to test for results to find out whether minerals are present. The search is done using maps. A prospecting licence is issued by the Mining Commissioner’s office.


Pegging:  Once prospecting has been done, a registered pegger marks out the boundaries of the proposed mining area.


Mine claim: It is the right the would-be miner is given through a permit over the mining location which shows that there are minerals present.

A certificate of registration:  The Mining Commissioner issues a certificate to the would-be miner to have the right to start mining.

An environment impact assessment involves pinpointing, listing and considering the likely effects of mining on the environment. It is used to reduce or prevent especially negative effects of mining on the environment before they occur. It measures the impact of mining on people, environment such as water, air and wildlife.


 This stage is important in that a prospective miner will learn the potential value of a mineral deposit. This will assist her/him in assessing whether mining is a profitable business venture. The factors that should be considered include:

  • Location of the mineral resource;
  • Type of mineral that is present;
  • How the mineral will be extracted;
  • The size of the mineral claim;
  • Market value of the mineral;
  • Type of mine;
  • Size of the mine; and
  • Whether there are access roads.

Mining related costs

  • Prospecting license fees;
  • Pegging costs;
  • Determination of the results of mineral deposits;
  • Mining certificate;
  • Environmental impact assessments (EIAs);
  • Annual fees for mining;
  • Fees for licences such as effluent and waste disposal;
  • Gold dealing licences such as gold buying licence; gold jewellery permit and custom milling licence;
  • Buying and hiring equipment;
  • Transporting the mineral ore to custom mills; and
  • Testing soil samples. 


  • There are two types of mining. These are under ground and open pit or surface mining.
  • Mining operation involves digging and blasting of the soil and rocks; processing involves separating the rock from the material that has value that is known as ore. It is also depends on the mineral that is being mined.
  • The activities include hiring of tools such as compressors and drilling machines; buying of tools and explosives;   transportation of mineral ore to custom mills; processing and selling of minerals.


Mining comes to an end because there is no longer any presence of minerals in the mine. A mine is also closed when the market price of the mineral is very low and there is no profit earned from mining.

There is a need to deal with certain things such as buildings and other structures at the mine; waste that was generated during mining operation; open pits and mine shafts; and reclamation of degraded lands including tree planting.


The Mines and Minerals Act

Key provision

Issue being addressed

Section 15

An approved  prospector is registered

Section 24

Any person who is 18 years or older can apply for a prospecting licence

Sections 30 & 35

One of the rights of the prospector is to use public water

Section 44

Registration notices of discovery of mineral ore, precious stones and precious metals

Section 45

Registration of a  mineral block

Section 48

A certificate of registration

Section 117

Dangerous workings such as mining shafts

Section 169

Rights of claim holders and landowners

Section 172

Rights of a holder of a block of claims

Section 189

A miner should fence off the mining claim near pastures

Section 191

Use of water for mining purposes

Section 185

Closing down of mines

The Mining (Alluvial Gold) (Public Streams) Regulations, 1991

  • The Rural District Councils issue permits and monitor and control gold panning in designated areas; and
  • No mining should be carried out within 3 metres of the riverbank and it should not be deeper than 1.5metres.

The Gold Act (Chapter 21.03

  • Licensed gold dealers have 3 different licences. These are a gold dealing licence; gold recovery works licence; and gold assaying licence.

The Explosives Act (Chapter 10.08)

  •  A miner requires a permit to possess, buy, deliver, manufacture, store and use explosives such as dynamite.


The Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27)

1.      The law allows certain levels of pollution that are not harmful to health. This means a miner should apply for the following licences:

·         Solid waste disposal licence; Effluent & Solid Waste Disposal Regulations Statutory Instrument (S1) No. 6 of 2007) ;

·         Hazardous waste licence; (Hazardous Waste Management Regulations SI No. 10 of 2007)

·         Effluent disposal licence (Effluent & Solid Waste Disposal Regulations SI 6 of 2007) ; and

·         Hazardous substances licence for their storage and use (Hazardous Substances, Pesticides and Toxic Substances Regulation, SI, No. 12 of 2007).

2.      An Environmental Levy (section 50) was established. One of its purposes is to deal with rehabilitation of degraded environments and mine closure plans;

3.      Miners are required to carry-out environmental impact assessments (section 97);

4.      EIA report is considered and certificate issued (section 100); and

5.      The First Schedule provides for the projects that require compulsory EIA.


The Forest Act

·         A miner may not cut down trees in the mining location without a permit from the Mining Timber Permit Board (section 45);

·         An application for a mining timber right (section 49) and issued by the Mining Timber Permit Board (section 50).

The Wildlife Act

·         A would-be miner requires a prospecting licence to search for minerals in the Parks and Wildlife Estate (section 119); and

·         Legal mining cannot proceed without the written permit of the Minister which has been approved by the President of Zimbabwe (section 119(2)).

The Water Act (Chapter 20:24)

·         An application for a permit to use water for mining purposes is made to the Mining Commissioner of the mining district (section 34); and an application for a permit to conduct operations in public streams is directed to a water catchment council (section 46).

The Rural District Councils Act (Chapter 29:13) provides:

The Rural District Councils collect mining levies in rural areas (section 96).

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act 14 of 2007 promotes economic empowerment and indigenisation so that indigenous Zimbabweans can have at least fifty-one per centum of the shares of every public company and any other business.



What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is used to pinpoint, list and consider the likely effects of mining on the environment. It is used to reduce or prevent especially negative effects of mining on the environment before they occur.

What are the environmental impacts?

The environmental impacts include:

·         Change of land use that include building of roads, processing plants/mills, settlement of miners and their families, storage of chemicals and explosives such as dynamites, cutting down of trees and bush-fires;

·         Air quality is affected because of dust and noxious smells from explosives;

·         Water quality is affected through contamination of water by chemicals used in processing as well as alluvial gold panning along river beds;

·         Wildlife is affected by noise blasting and snaring by miners and their families; and;

·         Livestock die after drinking water that is full of chemicals and some fall in the open mining pits/shafts.

Which mining projects require EIAs?

 The First Schedule provides the following projects:

·         Smelters other than iron and steel;

·         Mining and quarrying such as mineral prospecting, mineral mining, Ore processing and concentrates, and quarrying; and

·         Waste treatment and disposal that relate to toxic and hazardous waste generated from mining (Part 5, 7 & 11 of the First Schedule).

Who requires that an EIA should be done?

·         The Environmental Management Agency.

Who carries out the EIA?

·         Only Consultants who are in the Environmental Management Agency’s register can conduct an EIA.

Who is consulted during an EIA? Interested and affected parties include traditional leaders; councillors; District Administrators; local communities; miners and non-miners, civil society organisations; Non-Governmental Organisations; and Media.

EIA and Ecosystems Protection Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2007

·         Provides for the steps that should be followed in doing EIA and a register of Consultants;

·         Provides for the handing out of an EIA licence; and

·         Prevents veld/bush fires and protects wetlands and public streams.


Economic empowerment of women

·         Promoting women`s involvement in mining activities;

·         Improved knowledge and awareness of the laws on mining;

·         Making simpler and easier the steps in applying for mining permits;

·         Making more information available to women; and

·         Training courses and how they can be used by women miners.


Social empowerment of women

·         Equal number of women and men contributing their part as members of the mining related boards and committees; and

·         Raising the importance and value of more women participating in decision-making processes and women’s rights.


Health and education

·         Raising awareness of the health and safety risks posed by chemicals such as mercury and cyanide; and

·         Raising awareness of HIV and Aids and promoting health seeking behaviour change.


Safety and security

·         Obtaining of permits/licence for one to carry out legal mining;

·         Raising awareness of the health and safety risks posed by chemicals such as mercury and cyanide;

·         Raising awareness on the importance of safe storage of chemicals such as mercury and cyanide; and

·         Raising awareness of domestic violence issues and counselling of both women and men on domestic violence issues.


Formation of Associations

·         Raise awareness on the importance of forming associations and co-operatives;

·         Give examples of benefits of belonging to an association and co-operative that include access to basic services such as healthcare, education and micro-credit;

·         Assist each in registering for mining claims; and

·         Participating in internal lending and saving schemes (mikando).



Government Ministries

The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development/ The Mining Commissioner (Head Office)

Zimre Centre, Cnr Takawira Street and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, Harare

Telephones: 04777022/9/798771/5

·         Approves and registers prospectus; and

·         Issues certificate of registration of the mining claim.

The Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development (Head Office)

Mukwati Building, 20th Floor

Cnr 4th Street and Livingstone Avenue, Harare

Telephone: 0477482/3

·         Promotes gender equality and economic empowerment of women; and

·         Registers women’s groups as co-operatives


The Ministry of Economic Empowerment, Indigenisation and Youth Development


·         Promotes economic empowerment of all indigenous Zimbabweans by allocating them 51% share equity in mining companies and community ownership share trusts to benefit local communities;


The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Head Office

Block 1, Makombe Building Complex

Telephone: 04705661/ 705671

·         Protects the environment from degradation such as cutting down trees, mining on riverbeds and causing veld fires

·         Ensures that miners are carrying out mining activities in accordance with the law such as:

o   Once a certificate of registration of the mining claim is issued by the Mining Commissioner, the next office to visit is EMA;

o   EMA requires the would-be miner to produce an environmental management plan that outlines the type of mining activities that will take place on the mining claim;

o   When it is satisfied with the environmental management plan it issues out an approval certificate called a prospectus;

o   The next stage is the carrying out an EIA by approved and registered Consultants with EMA;

o   The EIA ensures that the proposed mining activities are not harmful to the environment. Some steps are put in place to minimize harmful effects of the mining activities such as covering all mining pits, fencing off the mining area and locating a waste dump site near the mine; and

o   Once EMA is satisfied with the results of the EIA Report, it issues out a certificate that is valid for two years.

Local District Stakeholders

The District Administrator


Telephones: 055 23721/22153/22162

·         Administers all land under Kwekwe District including A1 and A2 farms;

·         Gives advice to would-be miners on mining activities;

·         Handling and resolving land disputes;

·         Can allow a farmer to deny permission to mine if the land is less than 100hectares; and

·         Can approve for a farmer to become a miner if he/she discovers the mineral on her/his land provided there is no other party interested.

Kwekwe City Council (KCC)/the Municipality of Kwekwe


The Civic Centre, Kwekwe

Telephone: 055 22301/6

·         Administers all urban areas in Kwekwe;

·         Have roles that are similarly discharged by the RDC;

·         Conducts site visits to the proposed mining area to ensure that the place does not interfere with infrastructure, town plans, railway line and underground water pipes. The proposed mining area should be at a reasonable distance from the city centre to avoid noise and accidents; and

·         Considers the application in a prescribed form, produce accompanied by a map of the proposed mining area and an application fee.

Zibagwe Rural District Council



·         Administers all communal lands, resettlement areas and rural areas in Kwekwe District;

·         The RDC is notified by the would-be miner once a mineral has been discovered and confirms with the headman or councilor of that area is open for mining;

·         Issues out a written letter to allow prospecting to take place which also serves to support the application for a prospector’s licence at the Mines and Minerals Office;

·         Once a prospector’s licence is issued the would-be miner notifies the RDC her/his proposed mining activities;

·         The RDC is a key stakeholder during EIA consultations;

·         Quarterly payments of levies are paid to the RDC whether the miner is operating or not;  and

·         The sale or change of ownership of a mine at the Mines and Mineral Office is supported by written clearance letter by the RDC to show that the original mine owner does not owe the RDC any debts. 

Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development/Provincial  Mining Commissioner

The Exchange Building, Main Street, Gweru.

Telephones: 054 222241/222841

·         Approves and registers prospectus; and

·         Issues certificate of registration of the mining claim.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA)

Cnr Clyd/Ford Street

Telephones: 055 23769/21009/21012

·         Similar roles administered by the Head Office.

Department of Women’s Affairs

Cnr Clyd/Ford Street

Telephone: 055 22759

·         Similar roles administered by the Head Office.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police/CID Minerals

Telephone: 055 24541/6

Officer-in-Charge (Rural): 055 22210

Officer-in-Charge (Zhombe):

055 20070

C.I.D Mbizo: 055 40042/24541

CID: 055 22219

·         Enforces and ensures that mining is done according to the mining laws with the relevant mining permits and licences;

·         Investigates all crimes related to mining.

Mining Industry

Association of Women in Mining



·         An umbrella body that represents women miners

School of Mines

Coghlan Ave, Killarney, Byo Telephone: 09 71247

·         Provides training on mining related issues

























Affirmative action means a law or steps taken to favour women more than men because they were left out in playing their part in business and politics in the past;

A claim means a right to mining has been handed out by the Mining Commissioner over a certain area;

Custom mill means a place where rocks and soil are crushed, washed and refined to get gold;

Empowerment means women are confident and can express themselves, influence making decisions at home and communities  and participate in business such as mining;

Environment means nature, land, trees, grass, air, wild animals and birds, water, rivers, soil and mountains that surround us;

Environmental impact assessment means to pinpoint, list and consider the likely effects of mining on the environment. It is used to reduce or prevent especially negative effects of mining on the environment before they occur;

Equality means women, men, girls and boys are taken care of in the same way and no one is favoured;

Gender means the roles, duties and responsibilities which are culturally or socially ascribed to women, men, girls and boys;

Gender issues mean certain things that affect women, men, girls and boys differently because of their sex and the way they were brought up as children;

Gender sensitive means accepting and taking care of the needs of women, men, girls and boys in planning and carrying out projects as well as making laws;

Hazardous and toxic means chemicals and liquids that can harm one’s health;

Impact can either be a positive or negative effect on the environment and people;

Market value means the price of the mineral that is sold or bought for example by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe;

Permit/licence means a stamped written paper issued by Government Departments, Rural District Council or Municipality with a name of the miner, a mining activity or activity related to mining that is being carried out according to the law and conditions that should be followed;

Processing involves separating the mineral such as gold from rock and soil;

Prospecting involves the searching for mineral deposits by taking soil samples to the laboratory to test for results to find out whether minerals are present;

A register is a record of the details of consultants and prospectors done in terms of the law;

Waste means the left over rock, chemicals and rubbish that cannot rot after processing gold; and

Wetlands means an area that is a swamp, muddy, with reeds, surrounded by water springing from the ground, drinking water points are dug there and usually this is where a river starts from.



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