Small scale gold miners increase output

HARARE-    The Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) says its gold output for 2014 has surged 62 percent compared to 2013 owing to increased support by the government and others as well as the ongoing formalization of small scale mining in the country which has seen more gold going direct into government coffers.

The 2014 growth translates to a 310 percent increase since 2009.

ZMF is a brainchild of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development whose birth was marked to represent and contribute to the development, growth and empowerment of the artisanal and small scale miners in the country who were operating illegally.

It is the mother body representative of member associations which include the Zimbabwe Women in Mining, Zimbabwe Artisanal Small Scale Mining Council (ZASMC) and Youth in Mining.

Artisanal mining simply means small scale mining by individuals, or groups of individuals using almost exclusively manual and rudimentary equipment.

It is an open cast process involving the creation of large pits during the excavation of the mineral-bearing material which is washed using traditional manual panning methods. Figures released by ZMF shows that in 2014 the federation produced 3 750 kilograms of gold, down from 2 400 kilograms in 2013.

ZMF said with formalization of small scale miners, god deliveries were likely to increase further.

“Any artisanal miner registered and in data base should be able to sell to FPR (Fidelity Printers and Refiners). For example in Shamva (Mashonaland Central) alone, ZASMC has been able to register on record 1,600 artisanal miners, In Mt Darwin (Mashonaland Central) 1,200 and Mazowe (Mashonaland Central) 1,400, Shurugwi (Midlands) 13,200,” it said.

“Registered syndicate members will be issued with identification cards. If we target about 80 gold processing zones in the country, a substantial figure of +/- 300 000 can be formalized and gold is harnessed into the fiscus.”

The Southern African country’s gold deliveries for the first three months of 2015 rose by 6 percent to 3 126 kilograms.  Artisanal mining can be on a freelance basis, contracted or employed. Hitherto, artisanal mining has been practically unregulated. 

The government has realized the need to recognize the full potential of artisanal miners and harness the gold they have been illicitly trading by integrating them into the mainstream economy through introduction of an Artisanal Mining Permits policy formulation and permits required to sell gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe about 70 percent of small scale miners are into gold mining with the remainder involved in chrome and other minerals.

May 2015
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