Small-scale miners focus on US$10m fund

ZIMBABWE Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive officer Wellington Takavarasha

THE ZIMBABWE Miners Federation (ZMF) says it is currently working on modalities of how the US$10 million incentive released by the government will benefit small-scale miners.

Last month, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube launched a US$10 million gold facility to fund mining expansion and increase productivity.

ZMF chief executive officer Wellington Takavarasha told NewsDay Business that the funds will boost the operations of the sector.

“Government’s commitment to incentivise small-scale miners operations is a welcome move as we have noticed the release of the US$10 million, so now this is no longer a talkshow. We are currently working on the modalities of how miners are going to benefit and more interestingly the government says the mine itself can be used as collateral.

“So, we have to look at the merit of the mine and also the resources available at the mine for the person to be able to repay the loan. So, it will incentivise them while also trying to match the government’s target of reaching US$12 billion by the end of this year,” he said.

The funds were drawn from the SDR allocation to the country of US$961 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2021. The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969.

Through the facility, US$5 million will go towards the establishment of an Artisanal Gold Small-Scale Miners Fund, while another US$5 million will go towards the Gold Service Centre Revolving Facility (GSCF).

Ncube said the gold facility had the potential to close the funding gap and spearhead increased productivity.

“In support of the value addition and beneficiation programme for the small-scale miners, government is availing a US$5 million Gold Service Centre Revolving Facility (GSCF) for the construction of six gold service centres to improve access to critical facilities by artisanal gold small-scale miners,” he said at the launch of the fund last month.

“The setting up of a US$5 million Gold Service Centre Revolving Facility and US$5 million Artisanal Gold Small-Scale Miners Fund will go a long way in capacitating the small-scale miners through the construction of gold service centres, as well as providing them with the requisite tools of trade for their day-to-day operations.”

In 2021, small-scale gold miners produced more than 18 tonnes of gold, accounting for 64% of the total gold produced in Zimbabwe.

At the end of 2022, Fidelity Gold Refinery received a record 33,308 tonnes of gold deliveries in the 11 months to November, surpassing the previous record of 33,3 tonnes achieved four years ago.

This was attributed to timeous payments and incentives given to producers.

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