Small-scale miners to set up milling centres
Bulawayo ‑ The Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small Scale for Sustainable Mining Council (ZAMSC), in alliance with PACT, will next year set up gold milling centres countrywide to boost gold production, an official has said.
ZAMSC president, Wellington Takavarasha, said feasibility study was already underway.
“In partnership with a non-governmental organisation called PACT, we will next year establish some gold milling plants in most mining areas. There about 80 places countrywide that need the services and we are targeting these,” Takavarasha said.
“PACT at the moment is doing a baseline study which is phase one of the project. After the study they will see what exactly is wanted on the ground, including the service centres.
Phase two will see the actual funding for the purchase of the necessary equipment to be used by our members at nominal cost.”
The move by ZAMSC follows similar initiatives by the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and the Government of Zimbabwe all aimed at increasing productivity of the sector believed to be a source of livelihood for 500 000 individuals directly involved in artisanal mining and 1.5 million indirectly benefiting from the activity.
Artisanal and small-scale mining is one of the most important livelihood activities in Zimbabwe and around most parts of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Founded 42 years ago and based in the USA, PACT works in partnership with local communities around the world in improving livelihoods in areas which include extraction of natural resources and market identification among others.
“The first study is running up to February or March next year and the actual mechanisation will start thereafter. For a start, we need at least one milling plant per mining region.”
He said each milling plant would cost over one million dollars.
“The budget for each milling centre is plus or minus US$1.5 million.
This includes the crushing equipment plus processing as well as other equipment to facilitate effective running of the centre,” Takavarasha said.
As an empowerment and development vehicle, he said, the centres will be one-stop shops for the miners to mill their ore and get equipment and technical support.
The equipment to be offered to the miners until such a time as they can afford to purchase their own would be generators, compressors, water pumps and technical support would come in the form of geological surveys etc.
United Women Miners Association president, Mtandazo Muhau, said the move was commendable as it would increase gold production.
“Currently, there are a few registered milling sites in the country and this is negatively affecting production, as we spend more than a week queuing for the milling services which by any standard is counterproductive.
“With the new milling centres, gold production by small-scale miners will triple,” Muhau said.
Zimbabwe small-scale miners contribute about 26 percent of the country’s annual gold output of over 10 tonnes.