The Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has implored the government to speed up the crafting of laws that will formalise the small scale gold mining sector.
Speaking at the Gold Sector Mining Symposium which was held as the first event for the annual Chamber of Mines in Victoria Falls Thursday morning, ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya said the small scale gold sector is fast-growing but hampered by a myriad of challenges, among them lack of access to financial loans and skilled human capital.
“The Attorney General’s Office is delaying unnecessarily to ensure policies that formalise the small scale mining sector are put in place and this is affecting our operations. We request for repeal of the Gold Trade Act whose sections criminalise activities of small scale miners,” said Rushwaya.
She said the Act may be repealed now and re-enforced after next year’s harmonised general elections, as she targeted her request to Zanu-PF national commissar Mike Bimha who is also attending the conference.
Rushwaya said the artisanal small scale mining sector comprises individuals and smaller groups using rudimental mining methods and has between 1,2 million and 1,5 million members countrywide.
She said the small scale miners are affected by lack of access to financial loans which is caused by lack of resources, and information to enable them to qualify for the know-your-client database by banks.
“Small scale miners do not usually qualify for loans. We are saying to banks, your know-your-client should move with times because most of the small scale miners are not educated,” added Rushwaya.
She said since assuming the position in 2018, she had managed to solve conflicts within the sector.
She said the sector needs a statutory instrument that empowers artisanal small scale miners and to be included in national budget as a sector.
Rushwaya said the sector is growing in leaps and bounds hence the request to become active participants in the economy.