SMALL-SCALE miners have called on the government to parcel out land to artisanal and small-scale miners to increase the gold output, as they produced 2,8 tonnes of gold in the first quarter.
By Freeman Makopa
This is up from the comparative quarter in 2017 where the small-scale gold miners contributed between 1,6 and 1,9 tonnes of gold.
Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) president Henrieta Rushwaya told NewsDay in a phone interview that government should engage conglomerates who have been holding onto land and claims to surrender them to small-scale miners.
“There are conglomerates that have been holding on to land since 1890 and we are saying the government should kindly engage them in ceding the claims to small-scale miners and we will form organised mining syndicates that will fully utilise the land and resultantly increase our gold output,” she said.
Rushwaya said the sector also faces lack of capital to improve technologies at gold mining centres in terms of world environmental standards.
“There is a lack of capital in the sector and there is need for financial approaches that are contextually specific and oriented towards the various different types of the artisanal mining sector (ASM) which includes programmes to promote equipment grading and improving technologies at gold mining centres,” Rushwaya said.
“It’s quite important to realise the full potential and significance that artisanal and small-scale mining have to the contribution of the fiscus and put them in the mainstream economy. ASM is a livelihood activity and is there to stay.”
According to the ZMF report on gold production for the first quarter of 2018, artisanal miners produced 65% of 12,1 tonnes yield of gold with the other chunk being produced by the big gold mining firms.
Despite the low production at an individual level, the often large number of units involved means that at a national scale, total production can be significant thus equaling or exceeding that of large-scale miners.
Last year, artisanal miners contributed 13 tonnes to the total 25 tonnes of gold produced.