THE government will set up its first gold processing centre in Inyathi, Matabeleland North, this week in a bid to increase gold production and boost national output, a senior government official has said.
Responding to questions from delegates who attended the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair International business conference held in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga said the centre would boost gold production.
“By the year 2025, we should not be talking about the two digits, we should be talking of three digits and up in our gold production. For instance, we are starting here in Matabeleland North in Inyathi that’s why the [Mines] minister [Winston Chitando] is here,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s annual gold output increased to 24,8 tonnes in 2017 from 21,1 tonnes the previous year driven by a rise in deliveries from small scale-miners.
“He is going to be visiting Inyathi where we are going to set up our first gold centre where they would be all experts in gold [processing] from our geologists and all those involved in the mining,” he said.
“And we are going to establish proper gold mining and from there we are going to all gold producing centres to make sure that gold is produced. For those who are economist will understand why we want to have our gold reserves up. It is for a purpose and that is what going to happen.”
He said the gold mined would be beneficiated to maximise profit.
In 2016, government revealed plans to establish the gold processing centres in small-scale mining areas around the country to increase their contribution to national output.
The centres would offer various services such as gold milling, collection points as well as assist with environmental impact assessments.
It is estimated that about 1,5 million people engage in artisanal mining activities, according to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, but only 25 000 are registered in accordance to the Mines and Minerals Act.