$15m mine mechanisation facility launched
THE Government will soon launch a $15 million mine mechanisation facility for small-scale gold miners to boost output by players in the sector.
Addressing delegates at the 2016 Mine Entra conference in Bulawayo last week, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said the facility would be funded from domestic resources.
“We need to grow the small-scale gold mining sector because l believe that is where greatest potential is.
‘‘If you look at gold production as of today, at least 40 percent of our gold production is coming from the small-scale gold sector and it’s growing.
“I’ve no doubt that in the next year they will exceed 50 percent of gold production in this country,” said the Minister.
“Together with the Reserve Bank, we’ve said yes, we’re trying to put facilities such as the $100 million facility from the Chinese but we must have facilities of our own, which are targeted at our own people. . . already we’re looking at a $15 million facility for small-scale gold miners so that we begin to support them.”
He said the Government had failed to meet the collateral security requirements for the $100 million loan facility from China and thus the country was looking at funding small-scale miners’ mechanisation programme using internal resources.
He said the Government has only managed to meet collateral security requirements from China worth $5 million, which equipment would be secured for small-scale miners.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Fred Moyo is on record as saying the Chinese-made mining equipment would be delivered to small-scale gold miners by end of next month.
The plan to mechanise small-scale gold mining is part of a raft of new measures to decriminalise activities in the sector to boost deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, Zimbabwe’s sole buyer of gold produced in the country.
An estimated 500,000 small-scale gold miners operate in Zimbabwe.
At present, the small-scale mining sector contributes about 40 percent of the national gold output.