The Government has unveiled an additional $5 million loan scheme to support small scale miners through the Mining Industry Loan Fund (MILF), which has been established to assist medium and small scale producers in securing mining equipment.
The new facility complements the $20 million loan scheme that was availed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for small-scale gold producers last year. The facility has since been increased to $40 million to expand beneficiaries. Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Engineer Fred Moyo revealed this during the Mine Expo that was held in Zvishavane in the Midlands province at the weekend.
He said the Government had positively intervened to assist small to medium scale miners through the mining industry loan fund (MILF) under a model called ‘plant and equipment lease to buy scheme’.
“Government has since unveiled $5 million as part of assisting medium and small scale miners through the MILF on a model called plant and equipment lease to buy scheme,” said Dep Minister Moyo.
“In this model, the fund makes available to the target group, company, miner, plant and equipment under the three year lease to buy scheme. This fund is going to support provinces such as Midlands, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland Central and West to receive bulk equipment due to their numbers of miners. The fund will be channelled through the Ministry of Mines. We are working on a model of funding and the first $5 million is on pilot to see how it works. We hope it will play a crucial and pivotal role in revenue generation for the country.”
The Deputy Minister tasked the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) to create a register and assess its miners and classify them in order to make it easy to roll out the fund.
He advised manufacturers of mining equipment and suppliers to work closely with ZMF and the Ministry of Mines in order to be well informed on appropriate equipment needed by medium and small scale miners.
“ZMF I’m tasking you to have your registers of eligible miners, which you must assess to help ease the rolling out of this scheme. We don’t want to waste time but to roll out guided by a proper needs analysis of the miners. Manufacturers of mining equipment and consumables we urge you to work in liaison with ZMF and Ministry of Mines on what exactly the miners need on the ground in order to mine cost effectively. As technical partners we advise you to manufacture and stock equipment and consumables in demand with the sector and our technical team has since visited some manufacturing companies to familiarise and also guide on quantities, and we are still open for more players,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said the mining industry loan fund was meant to boost gold deliveries and enhance chrome mining, which is on demand due to good world market prices.
The mining sector is one of the key foreign currency earners in the economy with small scale miners playing a significant role.