Small-scale gold min­ers fear for their claims

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Business News - Africa Moyo re­cently in ZVISHA­VANE

SMALL-SCALE min­ers in the Zvisha­vane, Mberengwa and some parts of Mata­bele­land are liv­ing in fear of los­ing their mines to al­leged pow­er­ful in­di­vid­u­als, who are be­lieved to be work­ing in ca­hoots with some un­scrupu­lous of­fi­cials in the Min­istry of Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment.

Min­ers who own gold mines are the hard­est hit by the de­vel­op­ment.

Chrome min­ers have not been spared the on­slaught, although on a small-scale given the cen­tral­ity and value of the min­eral.

Zvisha­vane-Mberengwa Min­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (ZMMA) chair­per­son Them­binkosi Sibanda told The Her­ald Busi­ness last week that the sit­u­a­tion was so bad that mem­bers were now re­fus­ing to share their pro­duc­tion sta­tis­tics since the start of the year.

Mr Sibanda said some small-scale min­ers lost their mines af­ter pro­duc­ing huge quan­ti­ties of gold.

“This year, we haven’t gath­ered pro­duc­tion sta­tis­tics be­cause our mem­bers fear los­ing their mines. How­ever, the fig­ures are not look­ing good although we are def­i­nitely pro­duc­ing, with some min­ers pro­duc­ing just about 5kgs per month,” said Mr Sibanda.

“How­ever, like I said, get­ting ex­act sta­tis­tics is dif­fi­cult be­cause there is a lady from Gwanda, Mata­bele­land South, one of our high­est pro­duc­ers, who lost her mine to some peo­ple from Harare.

“So, oth­ers fear that they would be re­moved from their mines if they give us good pro­duc­tion fig­ures. In the busi­ness of min­er­als, ev­ery Jack and Gill wants to come in and the pow­er­ful come and kick you out of your mine. Ini­tially they peg next to you and even­tu­ally you are re­moved.”

ZMMA mem­bers con­trib­uted a haul of 52kgs in 2016 and 61kgs last year, mak­ing them sig­nif­i­cant play­ers in gold min­ing sec­tor. Small-scale min­ers have be­come key play­ers in gold min­ing and de­liv­er­ies to Fidelity Print­ers and Re­fin­ers (FPR), con­tribut­ing 55 per­cent to the 24,8 tonnes achieved last year.

In the first seven months of this year, small-scale min­ers again out­paced largescale min­ers af­ter de­liv­er­ing 13,7 tonnes to the 20,8 tonnes achieved.

Mr Sibanda said they could in­crease out­put if funds be­ing dis­bursed by FPR un­der the Gold De­vel­op­ment Ini­tia­tive Fund were ac­cessed by many min­ers.

So far, some min­ers can­not ac­cess the funds due to lack of col­lat­eral re­quired by FPR in the form of cat­tle and other as­sets.

Some of the min­ers do not have the as­sets and can there­fore not get the loans to mech­a­nise their op­er­a­tions.

ZMMA has 204 mem­bers, most of whom mine gold while a few are into chrome.

The as­so­ci­a­tion is ar­guably one of the most well-up as­so­ci­a­tions in the coun­try, prob­a­bly com­pet­ing with the Bubi Small Scale Min­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (BSSMA) is thought to be an­other small min­ers as­so­ci­a­tion that is pro­fes­sion­ally run.

ZMMA got a do­na­tion of a pick-up truck and 11 com­pres­sors in Novem­ber 2015 from Mimosa Mine.

Mr Sibanda said the do­na­tion has helped the min­ers to in­crease their av­er­age out­put, re­sult­ing in them buy­ing three more com­pres­sors us­ing own re­sources.

In the first seven months of this year small-scale gold min­ers out­paced large-scale min­ers

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