Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Venice Mine has struck a deal with Government that will see the mining firm parcelling out gold rich claims to communities around its operations near Kadoma as part of efforts to give back to the community.
The claims to be availed to the community under tributary arrangement, will be exploited by small scale miners.
The miner has in the past extended such favour but it has not yielded intended results as alleged violent gangs have taken advantage of the offer to boot out locals and even went further to invade claims Venice had not ceded.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, early this month led a delegation of senior Government officials on a tour of the mine after which he spoke of plans to ramp up production from the current 15 kg to 50kg a month.
In an interview with this publication, the Ministry’s Deputy Minister – Polite Kambamura – said the violent gangs that are disturbing operations at Venice Mine, were also siphoning their produce to the black market, a move that is at variance with Government’s US$12 billion mining industry annual export milestone.
“It’s unfortunate that small scale miners have invaded this area, initially the mine had offered a tribute to the community, but again that tribute was invaded by people who were not the miner’s intended beneficiaries,” said Deputy Minister Kambamura.
“So because of the challenges related to the invasion of the said tributary claims, the small scale miners have went on to invade other Venice Mine claims which the company has plans for and the sad part is Venice no longer has access to those claims.
“So as Government, we will help clear out these invaders so that the owners can have access to all their claims.
“The miner has promised us that once the clearance is done, they will then draw up a new plan where they will issue out tributes to the community for small scale mining which should be done in a proper and manageable way that will also see production being accounted for.
“Currently, the situation on the ground is that there is no accountability and all the produce from the small scale mining happening there is being lost to the black market and we thus have to move with speed and correct the anomaly,” he said.
On production, the mine that was once put under care and maintenance is currently managing about 15kg of gold per month and efforts are underway to upscale to 50kg per month.
“ . . . more importantly, there are plans for it to increase production to 50kg a month, so it will be producing 600kg a year and obviously contributing to the 100-tonne gold target by year 2023. This also means contributing to the estimated US$12 billion target,” said Minister Chitando after touring the mine earlier in the month.