Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
MINES and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando says a new gold development policy is being formulated to assist artisanal and small-scale miners to ramp up production.
The new policy document will be unveiled by the end of this month.
“We are working on a gold development policy that will be published by the end of May, which is anchored on significant increase of production in gold,” said Minister Chitando.
He said Government was aware that small-scale miners were faced with a myriad of challenges that prevent them from reaching desired optimum production.
“Small-scale miners are facing challenges of working capital so we really would like to find ways of how Fidelity (Printers and Refineries) can assist with working capital.
“If you notice from the other mine we visited, the miner got a loan of $400 000 from Fidelity and you could see what they have done. Definitely we would like to see a ramp up in production from small-scale miners,” said the minister.
FPR has so far extended loans to over 300 small-scale miners across the country under the Gold Development Fund which was launched last year. The facility was increased from the initial $20 million to $80 million due to growing demand. Artisanal gold producers have become the country’s top producers of the yellow metal.
Last year, they accounted for 53 percent of gold delivered to FPR. However, Zimbabwe Miners Federation Matabeleland South chairperson Mr Khumbulani Moyo said lack of funding towards procurement of mining machinery and consumables was the biggest constraint.
According to ZMF, last year the country lost an estimated $5 million worth of gold per month due to mining disputes.
It was estimated that each of the country’s seven gold mining districts was losing an average of 20kgs of gold due to disputes per month.