ASM in Shurugwi Blame Power Cuts for Decrease in Gold Deliveries

Makumba Nyenje

Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM) in Shurugwi are grappling with frequent power cuts, significantly affecting their operations due to the lack of dedicated electricity lines.

According to the miners, these persistent electricity challenges have been a major contributing factor to the decline in gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refinery (FGR), the country’s sole gold buyer and exporter.

“The ASM community in Shurugwi is facing severe operational challenges due to frequent power cuts. Without dedicated electricity lines, the miners are forced to operate under difficult conditions, significantly impacting their productivity and the overall gold supply chain. The government and relevant authorities must urgently address these electricity issues to support the ASM sector and ensure the steady flow of gold deliveries, which are vital for the country’s economy,” stated one miner.

During a recent visit by this publication to various milling sites in Shurugwi, it was evident that many operations had ground to a halt. The mills, usually bustling with activity, were silent, with production waiting for the night shifts when grid electricity is more consistently available.

The Human Resources Manager for the Shurugwi-based BSPK mining company highlighted the severe impact of the power cuts on their operations. “Since the start of winter, electricity has been a challenge, thereby affecting some of our operations. We are now working only in the evening due to power challenges, and this has been affecting our production and operations costs to a larger extent,” he explained.

Makumba Nyenje, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) for the Midlands province, echoed these concerns. “This winter, electricity has been a challenge, especially for millers, leading to production decreases. We are forced to have only the night shift to manage power costs, as diesel generators have become too expensive to run,” Nyenje said.

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The reliance on diesel generators during the day has significantly increased operational costs, further squeezing the already tight margins of the ASM sector. The erratic power supply not only hampers productivity but also disrupts the entire supply chain, from mining to milling to final gold deliveries.

The decline in gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refinery is a worrying trend, as the ASM sector plays a crucial role in Zimbabwe’s gold production, accounting for over 60 per cent of total annual production. With the nation heavily dependent on gold exports for foreign currency, the power crisis poses a significant threat to economic stability.

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