- May 6, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
The Mining sector is set to receive a $1 billion fund from government aiming at reviving production as business resumes after a 30-day lock-down was eased for formal businesses.
By K Sungiso
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube announced that the $1 billion credit facility is aimed at both small-scale and large-scale gold miners.
Part of the funding would be in foreign currency since the sector requires a lot of consumables which are obtained outside the country.
Operational details, which will specify the criteria, institutional coordination and access points for the facilities, will be announced after the consultative processes.
The government has also said the mining sector will get guaranteed fuel and power to avoid production disruptions, while there will be efforts to reopen closed gold mines by designating them as Special Economic Zones.
Zimbabwe has seen a drastic decrease in gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) for the first quarter of 2020 decline to 5,721.71 tonnes compared to 6,523.49 tonnes delivered in the first quarter of 2019 . The drop is attributed to the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic and rampant gold smuggling which may be linked to the frustration of gold miners with the 55/45% payment system.
While Covid-19 virus did play a role, operation “Chikorokoza Chapera” also seems to have a hand in the decline as Police arrested unregistered and partially registered miners in an effort to thwart the Machete gang menace that was bedevilling the mining sector.
Meanwhile, gold output could also be affected this quarter as the mining industry had not been fully operational due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Although miners (especially in the Small-scale sector) were exempted some only returned to work after the announcement by the President at the last weekend.
Some face an uphill task of testing their workers before commencing operation as announced by the President. Permanent Secretary of Information and Publicity also announced warned that random checks will be done by Health workers to ensure compliance.
''Level 2 entails the following;
The re-opening of industry and commerce, provided that companies must ensure Mandatory Diagnostic Testing of all employees, social distancing in the workspace, sanitisation and that all employees wear masks.''HE President @edmnangagwa
— Nick Mangwana (@nickmangwana) May 3, 2020
As mining roars back to life many face a dewatering challenge which means delayed full-time operations. Some operations had been on hold or under care and maintenance after the lock-down was announced.