- June 19, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
The Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has called on the government to expedite the setting up of gold service centres across the country to boost the production of the yellow metal.
A gold service centre is an establishment where all the functions related to gold mining from extracting to processing and sales are coordinated from.
The Government targets to establish 15 additional gold service centres countywide before the end of the year.
At present, despite having seven mining regions, Zimbabwe only has one operational gold service centre located in Bubi District, Matabeleland North Province.
The Government announced plans to roll out a total of 20 gold service centres countrywide to boost the mineral’s output as well as curbing leakages as small-scale and artisanal miners would be served by the centres.
ZMF spokesperson Mr. Dosman Mangisi told Mining Zimbabwe that his organisation was making a clarion call for the Government to expedite the setting up of gold centres saying such infrastructure plays a big part in mechanising small-scale and artisanal miners.
“Currently, the country only has one gold service centre in Bubi that is functional; the one in Silobela is not operational due to administrative challenges.
“Basically the development of gold service centres across the country is a key focus area that government should not fold up hands but should expedite especially at this juncture when the country is looking ahead to improve gold output to 100 tonnes by 2023,” he said.
Last year, the country produced 33,2 tonnes of gold against a target of 40 tonnes and the projection was missed due to a myriad of challenges facing the mining industry, among them power constraints.
Mr Mangisi said the gold service centres also play a part in the formalisation of artisanal miners’ activities with a knock-on effect of increased productivity.
“The service centres are also critical in skills transfer. It particularly focuses on those miners (artisanal) who are of no fixed abode to make them of fixed abode as they get to do their operations using a particular service centre within their jurisdiction,” said the ZMF spokesperson.
He said the development of the gold service centres is critical taking a leaf from other regional countries like Tanzania and Mozambique where such infrastructure has been taken seriously facilitating the formalisation and mechanisation of the small-scale and artisanal mining sector.
“Locally, the gold service centre initiative is lagging behind and if it is pushed, it will turnaround the tables.”
The small-scale scale mining industry plays a significant role in the country’s mining sector as it contributes more than 60 percent to total production of the auriferous resource in the country.
Turning to the recently announced gold trading framework by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through the country’s exclusive gold buyer, Fidelity Printers, and Refiners, Mr. Mangisi said:
“The reviewed gold trading framework is a shot in the arm to the miners. As the small-scale miners are now being paid a flat rate of US$45 per gram of their gold deliveries, they’re even more than happy looking at the fact that everything (mining consumables) are quoted on US$, it means they are now able to buy the consumables unlike in the past where 55 percent was paid in forex while 45 percent was in local currency.”
Under the targeted US$12 billion mining industry economy by 2023, the gold sub-sector is expected to contribute US$4 billion.
This article first appeared in the 15 June issue of Mining Newsweek Magazine