The plight of small-scale miners

Dear Editor,

I am one of a few small miners to have worked for several years on land that was a Government reserve up until a few months ago. We have been informed that this land now belongs to a large scale miner, and have been told to cease working immediately and to pack up and leave the site. Editor, we have tried unsuccessfully to get mining permission for this land and now we are left wondering how this large scale miner got documents to this piece of land, which we, the miners who are actually working the land, could not receive.

We have sought an audience with the Natural Resources Minister, Mr Raphael Trotman, but were without any success. We tried calling his office many times and on every occasion we were told that he is unavailable. We also wrote to him but we are yet to receive a response. We journeyed to GGMC to meet with Minister Broomes on her “Open Day”. However we were told that the “Open Day” has been discontinued.

It is as if this Government does not want to hear the complaints of small miners. There is no policy or forum to address the concerns of small miners; no provisions have been made for us to receive any of the land that was recently allotted and distributed to miners. Editor, the recent distribution of land, which was promised by Minister Trotman to small miners to remedy the historic wrong, which resulted in miners not having any lands to work, came and went. Yet most small miners have not received any land, neither do we know what process, if any exists, is for us to get a piece of this land. The recent land distribution is like a national secret, nobody knows anything about it.

The President told us that Minister Broomes was transferred to the Natural Resources Minister because of her vast experience in the mining industry, so why is Minister Broomes not dealing with mining issues? Why has she stopped conducting the “Open Day” and why is she no longer meeting with small miners? Where and to whom are small miners supposed to bring our complaints now?

We were happy when the President transferred Broomes to Natural Resources, and we gratefully brought our complaints to her on Wednesdays at the GGMC, when she convened an “Open Day” to meet the public. We familiar with her and we are aware that she knows what happens in the gold bush. Many small miners went to her and have had their problems resolved. Why has this successful initiative been abruptly scrapped?

It feels as though nobody cares.


Small-Scale Miner