Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter —
GOVERNMENT says it will first investigate viability and appropriate models for command mining before implementing the programme, as part measures to increase mineral production.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said there was no guarantee of a roll out of command mining, as Government was still exploring the feasibility of such concept.
In the meantime, the Government is working on final terms of a $100 million loan facility Government had sourced from South Korea to support small-scale miners.
“With regard to the concept of command mining, we are at the drawing board as to what model we can develop in order to have command mining,” the Vice President said.
“We have not yet resolved the model of that command mining; if it lands itself well we will take them (miners) on board, until we are satisfied that we have a model which can work, called command mining, then we would take them on board. We will not go into a programme unless we are very clear both in terms of us policy makers and stakeholders in that sector accepting that this is the way forward that benefits them in the extraction of depletable resources in our country,” he said.
The Vice President said this while addressing delegates at business conference during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo last week. He also told the delegates that Government had completed a paper on command livestock production, with the funding for the programme already secured.
The paper, VP Mnangagwa said, would be brought to Cabinet in the next few weeks for consideration. Government toyed with the idea of command mining following the success of Command Agriculture this year, with farmers expected to deliver over 3,2 million tonnes of grain.
The Government will assist farmers with marketing their grain this year having gazetted a price of $390 per tonne, which is far higher than the average price in the region.
Under Command Aagriculture farmers received inputs such as seed, fertiliser chemicals, fuel, and mechanical support to ensure optimal grain production this year. VP Mnangagwa said the Government had since set aside $199 million for purchase of grain. Command mining, if the concept is investigated and found to be practical and economically feasible, would help to significantly boost Zimbabwe’s mineral production.
Government has designated mining as the anchor for short to medium term growth with gold currently the second biggest single foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe.
Gold and platinum account for over 60 percent of the country’s annual export earnings. Despite being the anchor for economic growth, miners, especially small-scale and artisanal, struggle to increase output due to lack of funding to support their activities.