THE Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Council (Zamsc) has engaged the World Bank in a bid to secure funding to bankroll its various operations in and around the country, Southern Eye can reveal.
A team from the Bretton Woods institution is expected in the country next month. Zamsc president Wellington Takavarasha confirmed the scheduled visit by officials from the international financiers.
He said the team from World Bank would be visiting the country to assess projects for small-scale miners after his organisation submitted capacity building projects for possible funding.
“The biggest challenge artisanal miners have been facing is shortage of working capital and equipment and we last year submitted capacity building project proposals to the World Bank for funding and they are coming to assess the feasibility of the projects in March,” said Takavarasha.
He, however, could not be drawn into disclosing the actual figures involved save to say the move was part of efforts to formalise small scale mining in the country.
Zamsc has been engaging the government to formalise small-scale mining and is currently in a process of registering 1,5 million small-scale miners countrywide. According to Zamsc, by end of last year, 25 000 small-scale miners had been registered.
Unregistered miners have been facing a plethora of challenges ranging from criminalisation and failure to access funding from banks, largely due to lack of collateral.
However, the government in the 2014 budget availed a $100 million credit facility for artisanal small-scale miners as part of a plan to formalise and double production in the sector.
The facilities would, however, be accessed by registered players only.
The Mines ministry under Walter Chidhakwa is also finalising the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act expected to decriminalise the operations of informal small-scale miners. This is expected to be followed by the finalisation of a comprehensive Minerals Development Policy that would establish an internationally competitive, stable and conducive business climate to attract investment in the mining sector.
The amendment of the Mines and Mineral Act would also allow mining companies to release claims they are not using to small-scale players without pay as part of efforts to formalise the sector.