The Sunday Mail
GOVERNMENT has revived efforts to acquire US$100 million worth of equipment from Chinese mining equipment manufacturer XCMG Group for use by artisanal miners.
The equipment is aimed at building capacity of small-scale gold miners to increase gold output from the sector, which contributed 53 percent of the total output last year.
About US$5 million worth of equipment from the facility arranged by XCMG with China Development Bank was handed over to some of the miners in April 2017.
Addressing the maiden Zanu-PF Youth League national assembly in the new dispensation, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was going to revive its bid for US$100 million equipment facility to support small miners.
He said the Government will soon send a delegation to China to revive the facility.
President Mnangagwa said the capacitation of artisanal miners will help in changing their livelihoods and increasing productivity in the gold sector.
This comes as the Reserve Bank is planning to set aside US$75 million to buy gold from the small scale miners to ensure all bullion is sold in Zimbabwe.
Gold is Zimbabwe’s single biggest mineral foreign currency earner. The mining sector generates over half of the country’s export earnings.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive officer Mr Wellington Takavarasha said: “I am glad that Government has realised the potential of the artisanal miners, hence accessing US$100 million worth of mining equipment is a game changer, not only for small-scale mining, but the whole mining sector.
“The facility will enhance capacity building for small-scale miners who for a long time felt isolated from the mining proceeds from the fiscus.
“This fund will help to establish majority of our miners into full-fledged mining companies which can contribute further to national output.”
Difficulties in accessing the facility, which has been on the cards since 2012, have been caused by delays by Government to guarantee loans from China Development Bank.
According to Mr Takavarasha, 32 one-stop shop service centres, which include milling, technical services, mining consumables and equipment, will be established across the country in order to smoothen mining activity.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), working conditions and capital requirements for small-scale miners need to be improved to directly impact on output.