Miners call for capacitation of sector

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) says there is need to capacitate small scale miners to ensure the attainment of the projected double-digit growth in the mining industry and to curb rampant gold smuggling.

The local mining industry which is anticipated to play a critical role in the resurgence of the local economy is still faced with liquidity challenges and power outages, a situation which has affected its growth.

Edzai Kufandarerwa, the ZMF chairperson, said there was need for government to recognise the contribution of small mining firms to the national economy thus should be afforded facilities and resources including access to funding from banks.

“We have been sourcing mining equipment such as compressors, water pumps, stamp mills and generators from countries that includes, China, India, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa for our members. However, we are appealing to the government, banks, corporates and individuals to assist us with funds to procure more equipment,” he said.

Due to cash flow challenges, small-scale miners across the country have struggled to secure mining equipment to boost their operations.

In recognition of the challenges bedevilling the small-scale mining sector and the potential it has in promoting economic growth, Mines minster Obert Mpofu’s ministry has chipped in with a Mining Industry Loan Fund.

Kufandarerwa, who also doubles as the president of Zimbabwe Exploration Small Scale Miners Association (Zessma) said with adequate support the small-scale mining sector could be a panacea to the country’s unemployment rate currently estimated at anything above 90 percent.

“The liquidity squeeze prevailing in the country has caused an increase in gold smuggling. At the moment over 100 kilogrammes of gold is being smuggled out of the country per week. To avoid this situation, ZMF is sourcing funds to empower its members so as to capacitate their operations."

“If we can get capital we can be successful and Zimbabwe can be the Switzerland of Africa. All fast-growing economies such as Botswana, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea among others are riding on their minerals and we can also do the same,” he said.

ZMF boasts of over 15 000 members scattered in the seven mining regions across the country.

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