Govt finally recognizes Amakorokoza

BULAWAYO - Having borne the brunt playing cat and mouse with the police in the pits for years, artisanal miners, also known as Amakorokoza have finally been recognised as an important sector by government.

Deputy Mines and Mining Development minister, Gift Chimanikire told a Small Scale Miner’s conference at the  Mine Entra that government will support the growth of the sector.

“Government has taken it upon itself to assist the small scale miners to boost mineral production for the development of the nation without external support,” Chimanikire said.

“Given that since 2010, a total of about 26percent of gold production was from small scale mines, the sector has potential to contribute more if given the necessary support,” he said.

Chimanikire said the growth of the small scale mining sector over the years had motivated government to promote and create an enabling environment for their operations.

“Government has taken a deliberate policy to promote small scale miners,” Chimanikire said.

Government assistance has been provided through the Mining Industry Loan Fund (MILF) which will cater for the purchase of plant equipment and direct cash loans to develop established mines.

The Minerals Development Policy, which will culminate in a new Mines and Minerals Act, will pay particular attention to the growth of this sector.

To buttress its recognition of the artisanal miners, government has established a syndication programme that puts miners into clusters and service centres for training these miners.

Informal miners have often been accused of causing environmental degradation because of illegal mining activities in undesignated areas.

But through syndication process, Chimanikire said, informal miners will be trained in best practices for their trade.

According to the Ministry 26 percent of total gold production in Zimbabwe since 2010 is estimated to have been produced by small scale mining and 65 percent of gold deposits are estimated to be explored by these miners.

Mining is the bedrock of the Zimbabwean economy and the grafting of Amakorokoza into the formal sector is expected to increase the mineral output levels.

In Africa small scale mining is recognised for its contribution to local economies through employment creation, reduction of rural –urban migration and foreign exchange earnings.

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