Small-scale miners are targeting to contribute US$4 billion to the targeted US$12 billion mining economy by 2023.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive officer (CEO) Wellington Takavarasha said artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) have an important role to play towards the realization of the US$12 billion mining economy.
“Statistics of production indicate that that the US$12 billion mining economy is being achieved in various mining sectors. US$4 billion has to come from the ASM. Fidelity Printers receipts of small-scale miners indicate that the sector is producing 60 percent of total gold output. The role of ASM is very important. Currently 70% of the minerals being mined is gold while 30% constitutes other minerals,” said Takavarasha during an interview.
Takavarasha pointed out that formalisation of the ASM sector is overdue.
“As long as government is benefiting from the artisanal and small-scale mining sector operations, there is definitely need to formalize. There have been some engagements at Mines and Finance Ministries and they are going to meet and come up with a Statutory Instrument that legalizes and policies that have a framework for the ASM sector. This has been on the cards,” he said.
Meanwhile, Takavarasha said the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the ASM sector.
“Covid-19 has greatly impacted on the ASM sector. We have had challenges such as cash shortages. Cash shortages are emanating from the fact that commercial flights that have been coming into the country and the international flights were being restricted. Therefore, this impacted on Fidelity Printers having cash. There were acute shortages at Fidelity Printers and Refineries because of the pandemic,” he said.
Consequently, the situation led to a significant drop in production.
“Production during Covid-19 dropped drastically. Statistics indicate that we went from 22 tons to 9,8 tons,” said Takavarasha