Dosman Mangisi, Mining Correspondent
MORE than 3,000 artisanal miners have been formalised in major gold deposit areas across the country as the government moves to curb illegal mining and smuggling.
According to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), 1,400 artisanal miners have been formalised in Silobela and Kwekwe under Freda Rebecca Mine.
Shurugwi has over 1,000 formalised artisanal miners under Falcon Gold while Mazowe has about 1,000 under Metallon Gold Company’s claims.
Gwanda and Shangani are still in the process while Zvishavane and Mberengwa have received mining equipment support from Mimosa Platinum to aid the formalisation process.
The government in collaboration with the ZMF, an umbrella body for small scale miners, is facilitating the formalisation process to curb leakages.
The miners in Mazowe are now producing one kilogramme per day.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Fred Moyo and ZMF president Apolonia Munzverengwi recently held talks with Metallon on the issue of illegal gold mining on the company’s claims.
The meeting resolved to set up a gold service centre in the area.
“Decriminalising artisanal gold mining is important so that people benefit from their resources. Mining must be done legally and this is the thrust of the country’s blue print Zim-Asset on mineral beneficiation and social services clusters,” Moyo said.
He said the process of formalising artisanal mining to increase transparency and accountability was progressing well despite resource constraints.
ZMF has since lobbied for the setting up of gold service centres across the country to help the formalization of small scale miners.
A gold service centre is a one stop centre providing artisanal miners with mining, milling services and instant payments. Large scale miners under the Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe (COMZ) have pledged technical support and allocation of mining claims.
The banking sector has also expressed interest in supporting the mining sector while the Standards Association of Zimbabwe is working on setting up standards to ensure supply of quality mining equipment.
Munzverengwi has urged artisanal miners to form mining syndicates to make it easy to acquire equipment and negotiate for funding.
“We urge you to form syndicates and as a mother body we’re working on the provision of sanitary and other social amenities for you. We’ve negotiated with a manufacturer of ore processing equipment for a milling plant to be installed at the claims, which will serve you all artisanal miners in your syndicates,” she said.
Chris Murove of the Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small Scale for Sustainable Mining Council (ZASMC) applauded the government and ZMF for spearheading formalisation of artisanal miners.
The formalisation process also involves police detectives from the minerals section, Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and Rural District Council officials.
Gold deliveries in the third quarter to September 30, 2015 clocked 13 tonnes and are expected to reach 16 tonnes by year end.