Small scale gold producers have called on the government to come up with laws that recognise artisanal and small scale mining, as the sector is one of the biggest contributors to the country`s economy.
According to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), artisanal miners make up about 84% of the sector, while only 16% are registered.
This came out at recent Young Miners seminar held in Bulawayo which ran under the theme, ‘Young Miners for innovation and technology to optimise and accelerate the US$12 billion mining economy by 2023’.
ZMF Public Relations manager Dosman Mangisi noted that illegal gold miners are estimated to be 1,5 million.
“We call for the repeal of the Gold Trade Act which criminalises carrying gold without being registered because we have about 701 people who were arrested this year who were found in possession of gold worth 2,1 tonnes,” said Mangisi.
He added that disputes in the gold sector are costing the sector over 20% of the total gold production which is about 5 tonnes per annum.
Young Miners Foundation chief executive officer Payne Kupfuwa encouraged youths to venture into mining for the country to be able to reach the US$12 billion goal set by the government.
“We will not be able to reach the target set by the government at this rate because we are failing to implement what is being taught to us in institutions,” said Kupfuwa.
He added that there is a huge gap between small scale miners and large scale miners in terms of the technological advancements and that is largely affecting the economy.
Meanwhile, Empower Bank credit control manager Patience Chakuvinga noted that in 2018 small scale miners outperformed large scale miners hence their attention has been shifted to them.
“Artisanal miners outdid large scale miners in the previous year and most of them are youths hence empower bank seeks to maximise their competitive urge by giving them loans,” said Chakuvinga.
She added that the bank offers capital for short term funding and also engages other financiers for the youths to be able to access long term funds for capital expenditure.