Youths in Nyanga North have embarked on an intensive small-scale mining venture expected to change the economy of the mineral-rich area and spur development that has been lagging behind.
The youths, operating under Nyanga Resources, have three claims in Nyazingwe, Mudomwe and Fombe areas, two of which were given special grant status by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
The company’s director Mr Evans Kamombo said operations started two months ago after formal registration.
“Before we started our operations, this area was occupied by illegal gold miners who caused substantial damage to the environment with very little benefit to the community.
“Three quarters of the dumps we have here were mined by illegal miners and most of the gold was not channelled to Fidelity Printers.
“After we registered our operations, we roped in the police to help us bring sanity and secure our claim in Nyazingwe. We managed to acquire some small machinery to start doing small scale mining and since then, we have so far sold about 500 grammes of gold to Fidelity Printers,” he said.
The company employs more than 130 people, including 25 women.
Mr Kamombo said striving for gender balance was a major consideration of the company’s operations. He said most of their employees were taken from all 13 wards in Nyanga north, while only a few with specialised skills are from outside the community. Although Nyanga is one of the richest areas in the country in terms of gold, it remains among the least developed areas.
The Government has been on a drive to formalise small scale mining operations but the process has taken long with very little co-operation from some gold panners who have been responsible for gold leakages that have prejudiced the Government of substantial revenue.
“We have nothing to show for our resources in Nyanga North. We have had illegal mining operations here for many years and the proceeds have not benefitted the community at all. We are very close to the border with Mozambique, so most of the gold that was mined here found its way outside the country. There has been zero development,” Mr Kamombo said.
He said Fidelity Printers should bring a gold buying centre close to ensure gold produced in the area is sold through official channels. Nyanga Resources is currently in the process of sinking standard shafts and procuring some heavy duty equipment as it moves to increase production to about 10kg per month.
“Our focus is to expand our operations. We started with small hammer mills but we are planning to put in big mills that can crush higher grade ore. We request the Government to empower us as small scale miners. We need loans to purchase machinery to improve our mining operations and increase the rate of extraction. When we do this, we will also increase employment,” he said.
Villagers who have been employed by the company said they were happy with the formal operations now taking place in their community.
Mutandiko village headman Mr Taurai Dzenga said formal mining would bring positive development to the community that had been marginalised for years.