- April 22, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Small scale miners have allayed fears that they are unable to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 preventative measures enabling them to operate when the country is under lockdown.
This comes as President Mnangagwa on Sunday directed that the mining sector scale up production and breathe life into the economy in the midst of an extended national lockdown.
The mining sector will, however, be subjected to strict WHO guidelines on the prevention of Covid-19 for them to open their businesses.
Among the measures is the need for social distancing at the workplace, strict screening and or testing as well as observing high levels of hygiene at the workplace.
Commentators were, however, quick to point out that small scale miners will not be able to meet these conditions and thus expose themselves to the danger of contracting the novel virus.
In an interview with The Herald Finance & Business the miners’ representative body — the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) said its membership is aware of WHO recommendations and claimed also had the capacity to meet the same.
Coincidentally, the federation was one of the first private sector players to respond to Government’s plea for material help in the fight against Covid-19 with a donation that was handed to President Mnangagwa.
Their request for protective clothing from Government therefore cast doubt if they are capable of meeting the WHO demands without external assistance, some observers claimed.
“We are very grateful to the President for affording us the exemption and allowing us to continue with operations for the greater benefit of the economy,” said ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya in an interview.
“We are well aware of the WHO preventative measures and our members are willing to corporate with authorities to make sure that we are fully compliant.
“Of note is the fact that we are always guided by Government through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in everything we do so we are always consulting and interfacing.
“It’s also important to note that most of our members have already been operating having gotten exemptions and this was already being done in compliance with the said recommendations,” she said.
The small scale mining sector is key to the country’s overall mineral output hence the need to allow it to operate, said players in the sector.
Over the years, small scale miners have surpassed primary producers in gold production accounting for more than 60 percent of the country’s gold deliveries.