Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Artisanal and small-scale miners have disbanded their representative body, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) and formed a new body, the Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners’ Federation (ZASMF).
ZMF was a representative body that fronted the interests of registered small- scale miners whose contribution to the mining sector, particularly gold and chrome has been on the increase.
The sector is now accounting for the largest chunk of the country’s gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refineries after overtaking their counterparts in the primary production sector which is dominated by conglomerates.
The move to morph into ZASMF was necessitated by the fact that the miners’ body felt that they were being limited in their activities under the old older.
In an interview with The Herald Business, ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya — who will assume the temporary leadership of the new body before the miners chart a new map — said hope was that they will be able to take unregistered miners on board in the new order.
“The previous body restricted our activities to registered miners only yet reality is that even the unregistered miners are playing a significant role in the small-scale and artisanal miners’ overall output,” said Ms Rushwaya.
“You don’t need to go far to see how this was long overdue, just look at the Battlefields mine disaster that killed miners. It was difficult for us to come in and make sure we help and ensure we avoid such accidents because people operating there were unregistered miners.
“So as a leadership, we agreed that lets have a new way that is all encompassing and the first step to this is to form a new federation altogether that takes care of this hurdle even from the perspective of its name.
“The leadership has agreed that the same people who were leading ZMF, continue in their previous roles, then at the appropriate time, we convene and seek a way forward from the miners themselves,” she said.
The small-scale and artisanal mining sector is very important to the country’s mineral output and Government has conceded that even when investment from corporates pour in as is expected on the back of President Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, the sector will remain key.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has said the sector will remain important due to the geology of the country, which makes some mineral deposits more amenable to small-scale operations as opposed to conglomerate mining.