- December 19, 2019
- Posted in LOCAL
GOVERNMENT has challenged the gold mining sector to ramp up production and achieve 100 tonnes annually as part of efforts to attain the US$12 billion earnings from the mining sector alone by 2023.
The ambitious target is inspired by President Mnangagwa’s vision of an upper-middle-income economy by 2030. Speaking during a Matabeleland South Provincial Mining Conference in Gwanda on Tuesday, chief director technical services under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Engineer Charles Tawha, said a supporting policy framework has been put in place to ensure increased mining output countrywide.
“Our target is to reach 100 tonnes yearly gold production by 2023, which will be a combination of artisanal and small-scale producers, medium to large scale and the large-scale mines,” he said.
“Strategies attached to this include rolling out of service centres nationwide, increasing capacity on existing mines and re-opening of closed gold mines.
“As the ministry, we’ve set a vision to have a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023. To realise this vision six mineral commodities are anticipated to anchor this achievement.”
Gold mining is expected to yield US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion, chrome and steel US$1 billion, coal and hydrocarbons US$1 billion, diamonds US$1 billion, lithium US$500 million and other minerals US$1,5 billion. “This will be achieved by enhanced exploration, enhanced investment and capacity building, increased productivity and employment creation, greater value addition, increased exports and corporate social responsibility initiatives,” said Eng Tawha.
Matabeleland South Province is producing about 300kgs of gold per month while the scope is wider for exploitation of other minerals across the country’s districts. Government is already seized with reviewing policy with a view of unlocking more opportunity in the gold, diamonds, chrome and lithium sectors, in particular. The ministry is restructuring to be more responsive and efficient to the needs of miners. A process has also begun to set up a hotline to assist in curbing corruption.
Eng Tawha also said mining fees were being reviewed to curb speculative behaviour on mining titles as part of ease of doing business initiatives while also pushing the use-it or lose-it policy. Government, through Fidelity Printers and Refiners, has been capacitating small scale miners under the Gold Development Initiative, which is funded to the tune of $200 million. Eng Tawha said to date $174 million has been disbursed to 302 miners.
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister, Abedinico Ncube, said the conference offered a platform to deliberate on key issues affecting the mining sector. He said this was a building block in the development of the province’s economy. Minister Ncube said full exploitation of mineral wealth would unlock more revenues and boost economic growth.
“There are more minerals yet to be exploited in Matabeleland South. Most of our mining activities are done on small scale basis with basic tools, which leads to low productivity,” he said.
Minister Ncube said there was a need to invest in modern technology to improve competitiveness and value addition.
Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation secretary general, Mr Philemon Mokwele, implored Government to decentralise mining services to districts.
“Miners don’t know the purpose and benefits of EPOs yet 95 percent of mining land in Matabeleland South Province is under EPOs. Could the ministry educate miners on this. Local authorities should also engage miners in the budget formulation process and allocate a certain percentage of business land to miners as they also pay tax.
“There is a need for loans that cater for miners without collateral. The 55-45 percent ratio is forcing miners to sell their gold on the black market and this has to be reviewed,” he said.
The mining conference was held under the theme “Unlocking and Escalating Mining for Matabeleland South Through Sustainable Investment towards an industrialised national US$12 billion Mining Economy by 2023_The Chronicle