- October 16, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
The small-scale and artisanal mining sector has of late become one of the pillars of the economy of Zimbabwe contributing significantly to national exports.
The sector which has become of significance for the country to achieve the President’s vision for Zimbabwe becoming an upper-middle-income earner by 2030 and the mining sector achieving a USD 12 billion industry by 2023 with the gold small scale mining sector contributing up to 12 percent of total exports.
Zimbabwe’s gold deliveries in September plunged by 73% to close at 1.36 tonnes from 2.8 tonnes in the comparative period in the prior year owing to rampant smuggling by small scale miners who blamed payment delays being faced by the miners proving the importance of small-scale miners to the economy.
According to Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Mashonaland Central Chairperson Mr. Masango Mahlahla in an interview with Mining Zimbabwe last year, the country’s chrome industry has the potential to establish a USD Billion-dollar industry with the small-scale sector able to generate over USD300 million in export sales.
“Small scale chrome miners held the potential to generate over USD 340 million in export sales revenue along with Government direct tax earnings of over USD 42 million.
“Over the last three years our continued research into chrome highlights that Zimbabwe Chrome production has the potential to become a Billion USD industry,” Mahlahla said.
World over, the small-scale and artisanal mining sector employ 10 times more people than large-scale mining, providing jobs and income for 20-30 million of the world’s poorest people and supporting the livelihoods of five times that number.
In Zimbabwe through the country’s biggest representatives of small-scale and artisanal miners Zimbabwe Miners Federation, around 50 thousand small-scale miners are registered by the body with each employing at least ten workers. And a lot more not registered by ZMF are involved in artisanal mining or illegal mining.
Researchers have estimated that the small-scale and artisanal mining sector in Zimbabwe benefits over 1,5 million people excluding equipment and service providers, this, therefore, shows that the ASM is of paramount importance to the economy of Zimbabwe.
The national Geological Survey estimates that local gold mining started in the country in the seventh century and that of more than 4000 present-day gold deposits, almost all are “located on ancient workings done through small scale mining and exploration.
The growth and continued support of the small-scale mining sector by the government through engaging with different small-scale mining stakeholders have led the miners to account to more than half of the country’s gold deliveries as well as a substantial amount in chrome deliveries and other special minerals.
The Government is putting more emphasis on small-scale mining ventures in its quest to boost mineral production across the country and revive the economy. However, the government seems to be scoring an own goal by rushing to arrest illegal miners whom a large number are unwilling participants but victims of a snail’s pace of Mining Title application processing and rampant corruption by Mines Officials.
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development Hon Winston Chitando has emphasized that his ministry was relying on small scale mining gold sector for the industry to achieve 100 tonnes of gold annually by 2023 due to the fact that Zimbabwe’s geology entails that there are some mineral deposits that are not economically viable for mining by big conglomerates.