Fidelity to identify mining equipment beneficiaries

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT will assign Fidelity Printers and Refiners to identify small scale miners who will benefit under a 0 million mechanisation facility.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa on Friday said Fidelity Printers and Refiners were better placed to do the screening as they know the performance of each miner.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe subsidiary is the sole authorized buyer of gold in the country, but also receives significant deliveries bought through licensed agents across the country.

Minister Chidhakwa said Government was still working on the “criterion and the standard package of equipment that can the make small scale miners more efficient” to increase production.

He said that Fidelity Printers and Refiners will also work with registered gold buying agents to determine the final list of small scale miners to benefit from the Government backed Chinese loan facility.

“In terms of the facility we are just working on the final touches, but otherwise the facility is there,” Minister Chidhakwa said without divulging further details before updating Cabinet on progress.

Government is working to equip small scale miners with proper mining tools to enhance their efficiency and productivity after deliveries rose significantly on decriminalization of panning.

Minister Chidhakwa recently said that there was need to capitalize the small scale miners after gold deliveries by had increased significantly on the back of its policy to decriminalise their activities.

Government has also started working with associations of small scale miners to register artisanal miners to train them sustainable methods of gold mining and also capitalise their operation.

This followed realisation that the haphazard methods used by the miners damaged the environment and were unsafe while outlawing panning fomented smuggling at the expense of the country.

The president of the Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale for Sustainable Mining Council Wellington Takavarasha last year told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy that of the 500 000 small-scale miners, an estimated 153 000 were women and children.

“Small-scale miners use rudimentary equipment like chisels, picks, buckets and wheelbarrows when mining and very often they have to rely on alluvial mining,” Takavarasha said.

He said there was significant lack of geological information among miners.

Apart from lack of information among the miners, other problems included failure to comply with legislation, unskilled labour, use of child labour and failure to adhere to environmental laws.

“About 70 percent to 85 percent of the rural population is into artisanal mining. Of these 70 percent are into gold mining, 30 percent into chromite, tantalite and mining of other semi-precious minerals,” he said.