Small scale miners say they are aiming to contribute US$4 billion to the targeted goal of turning the mining sector into a US$12 billion economy.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) CEO Wellington Takavarasha in an interview said small-scale and artisanal miners have an important role to play towards the realization of the US$12 billion mining economy.
“Statistics of production indicate that the US$12 billion mining economy is being achieved in various sectors, its across all the mining sectors. US$4 billion has to come from ASM. Fidelity printers receipts of small-scale miners indicates that the sector is producing 60% of the total gold output. The role of ASM is very important. Currently 70% of the minerals being mined is gold while 30% constitutes other minerals,” he said.
Takavarasha also highlighted that formalisation of ASM is long overdue.
“As long as government is benefiting from the artisinal, small-scale mining sector operations definitely need to formalize. There has been some engagements at Mines and Finance Ministries and they are going to meet and come up with a Statutory Instrument that legalizes and policies that have a framework for the ASM sector. This has been on the cards,” he said.
Takavarasha said the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the ASM sector.
“Covid-19 has greatly impacted on the ASM sector. We have had challenges such as cash shortages. The cash shortages are emanating from the fact that the commercial flights that have been coming into the country and the international flights were being restricted. Therefore, this impacted on Fidelity Printers having cash. There were acute shortages at Fidelity Printers and Refineries because of the pandemic,” he said.
Consequently, the situation led to a significant drop in production.
“Production during Covid-19 dropped drastically. Statistics indicates that we went from 22 tonnes to 9,8 tonnes,” he said.