A CHINESE firm, Livetouch Investments, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) plans to invest US$2 million is setting-up a gold service centre and purchasing of mining equipment for use by small-scale miners in Matobo District, Matabeleland South Province.
Speaking after a familiarisation tour of gold mining operations in the Maphisa area in Matobo District recently, ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya said there was a need to capacitate artisanal and small-scale miners as they contribute immensely to the mining sector and to the growth of the country’s economy.
“Mining is an important aspect towards the revival of our country’s economy. Thus, for capacity levels to be scaled-up it is important to support small-scale miners who are the major contributors of gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners. This class of miners produced 22 tonnes out of the 34 tonnes of gold produced by the country last year and that accounts for about 65 percent of the total gold output,” she said.
Ms Rushwaya said Matobo was one of the country’s richest gold areas but lack of technical and financial support has hampered miners to effectively extract the yellow metal.
“Matobo has one of the best gold deposits in the country but due to lack of equipment miners from this area are incapacitated, which is one of the reasons we have partnered with Livetouch to capacitate them with equipment worth US$2 million,” said Ms Rushwaya.
Livetouch is the parent firm for Diamond Cement, which is based in Redcliff. It also has a chrome processing business along the Great Dyke.
The company’s Zimbabwe operations were established in 2013 and it invested US$30 million towards setting-up its cement plant in Redcliff.
Ms Rushwaya said there was a need to expedite formalisation of artisanal miners so as to curb the rampant smuggling of gold across borders.
“I believe we are producing more than 100 tonnes of gold annually with most of it being siphoned out of the country. This is largely due to the fact that artisanal and small-scale miners don’t have the requisite papers to trade their gold and in most cases don’t want to be asked too many questions.
“If we were able to maximise and utilise to the fullest, our natural resources, I don’t think we will be experiencing any power challenges. So, we are saying let us help Government as much as we can by ensuring that we take gold to Fidelity and that way we will be able to pay our bills as a country,” she said.
Livetouch general manager, Mr Kyle Wang reiterated Ms Rushwaya’s sentiments on the need to capacitate artisanal and small-scale miners further stating the need to provide mining equipment at affordable prices to them.
“We are going to put up a milling centre as well as a service centre, which will be a storage facility for all types of back up spares for small-scale mining equipment here in Maphisa. We have realised that small-scale miners are paying unreasonable prices for equipment. So, we are planning to import and sell it to them at a reasonable price but the issue is still under discussions with the Government as well as ZMF,” said Mr Kyle.
He said the company’s long-term plan was to put in place milling centres in all the country’s gold mining districts. Source