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Miners urged to utilise $80m facility

Miners urged to utilise $80m facility

March 13, 2018

 

Most youths engaged in small-scale gold mining in Mutasa South are failing to tap into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s artisanal miners’ loan facility as they are not aware of its existence, an official has revealed.In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Mutasa South Member of Parliament Cde Irene Zindi said there was need for extensive campaigns to increase awareness of the available resources for artisanal miners.“We have many artisanal miners in Mutasa South, but most of them have not been able to access any loan facilities to ensure that they increase their production,” said Cde Zindi.“When such facilities are availed, sometimes the conditions are steep, so most miners then stay away from borrowing because they don’t have any assets to offer as collateral should they fail to pay back. But if Government reaches out more to these people, they could contribute more towards the national gold output.”

 

The Reserve Bank, through Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), launched the Gold Development Fund, which has grown from the initial $20 million to $80 million to capacitate artisanal miners with modest equipment.So far, more than 300 small-scale artisanal miners across the country have accessed the fund.FPR offers a maximum loan of $15 000 per applicant payable over three years.Mutasa is one of the districts endowed with vast gold deposits which has resulted in many youths going into artisanal mining.Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, has availed at least 288 mining claims for youths and women interested in doing mining activities in Mutasa South.“Our miners are capable of increasing gold output if only they can get access to these facilities,” said Cde Zindi.

 

“Government has to come up with a better model that will make it easy for the miners to access all the information regarding such facilities so that they can organise themselves in groups and apply for the loans.”Cde Zindi said more than 600 youths in the constituency had been empowered with gold buying licences since June last year as part of efforts to complement efforts to formalise gold mining activities in the area.“We have been facilitating for all interested youths in the constituency to get gold buying licences so that they can generate some income for themselves and not wait for handouts all the time,” she said.Cde Zindi said emzowering youths with licences was in line with Government’s initiative to engage youths and women in the mining sector.She said miners had been facing production challenges, as they did not have proper equipment to use during the rainy season when most gold claims were prone to flooding.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.Despite their immense contribution to national gold output, most artisanal miners still face a host of challenges. Most of them still use rudimentary methods, while others lack basic accounting skills.About 500 000 people are involved in artisanal and small-scale mining in Zimbabwe and at least 153 000 of these are women and children.The sector produces an average of 10 tonnes of gold per year.

 

Source: https://www.herald.co.zw/