Ishe Chingwere Business Reporter
State gold buying entity Fidelity Printers and Refineries will next month resume small-scale miners’ training programme that is aimed at equipping them with key knowledge needed in their operations.
Fidelity introduced the Certificate in Fundamentals of Mining programme in conjunction with the Zimbabwe School of Mines as a response to the glaring skills gap that were apparent in the small-scale miners despite them outpacing primary gold producers in deliveries to the state buyer.
In an interview, Fidelity head of Gold Development Initiative Fund Matthew Chidavaenzi said the gold buyer will then target trainees from the programme as the core group from which it will get applicants for funding through the gold mobilisation fund.
The programme has already seen more than 250 miners benefiting after Fidelity organised two courses in Bulawayo and Kwekwe last year.
“When we created the gold mobilisation fund, we realised that we had a problem of skills gap among the miners,” said Mr Chidavaenzi.
“So as a response we did a strategic partnership with the School of Mines where we then came up with a certificate in fundamentals of mining.
“It’s a seven-day programme where we train on the basics of mining and looking at the mine as a business and everything is done at our cost, meaning the miner only needs to avail themselves for training.
“So this year we are targeting four provinces, that is Mashonaland East, Central, West provinces and Manicaland. This year’s programme will run from April to June and of note is that for our loans that we give through the Gold Mobilisation Fund, these are the same people we will then target because going through this training removes the skills gap risk that we have previously had to grapple with,” he said.
Small-scale miners are key players in the country’s overall gold deliveries and last year accounted for 21,7 tonnes of the country’s 33,2 tonnes delivery compared to 11,5 tonnes by their primary producers.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has said Government expects continued growth in the small-scale sector as even more deposits get exploited, particularly those whose geology makes them more amenable to small-scale mining as opposed to conglomerate mining.
This, growth, is expected to feed into Government’s 100 tonnes per year target by 2023 which is expected to be a key anchor for Vision 2030 by which Zimbabwe should be an upper middle income earning economy.