Govt to support artisanal miners

Staff Reporter

Government has moved in to curb chaos in the mining sector as it is in the process of formalising artisanal mining activities in the country.

Presenting the ZWL4.2 trillion 2023 National Budget yesterday, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube said that Government would continue to assist artisanal miners so that they adopt sustainable mining methods.

“The mining sector, especially the gold sector, is dominated by artisanal and small-scale miners operating informally. The sub-sector contributes significantly to gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refineries, employs a significant number of workers and is a source of livelihoods for rural communities. Therefore, Government will continue to assist the small-scale miners to adopt environmentally friendly, safe and sustainable mining methods,” said Minister Ncube.

Minister Ncube added that starting from next year; Government would establish Gold Service Centres in a bid to promote the formalisation of artisanal and small scale miners.

“The 2023 National Budget will support the establishment of Gold Service Centres as part of the drive to promote the formalisation of activities of the artisanal and small-scale miners, with a target of having five fully established centres by the end of 2023. The centres will be located in areas of high activity by small scale miners to facilitate ease of processing and marketing of gold,” added the Minister.

According to Minister Ncube, Government will further offer Mining Industry Loan Fund to support small-scale miners through mining establishment loans and plant as well as equipment hire loan schemes.

Meanwhile, artisanal miners who spoke to this publication hailed the move by the Government to formalise their operations and said that this would go a long way in bringing peace to the sector.

“We support the formalisation of the artisanal mining as this will bring peace to the sector. Artisanal mining is mostly marred by violent gangs that fight against each other. In most cases, the violent clashes between gangs go unreported because the sector is not formalised. The formalisation of the sector will allow artisanal miners to significantly contribute to the growth of the mining industry,” said Tichaona Jani of Mazowe.

Meanwhile, Minister Ncube announced that Government was now into the final stages of completing the computerised mining cadastre system. Once operational, the system will enhance transparency and accountability in mining title management, by eliminating the overlapping mining claims, strengthening property rights and security of tenure within the mining sector.