THE Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Council (ZASMC) is anticipating to register 1,5 million small-scale miners by end of this year, as part of plans to formalise the sector and improve production output.
ZASMC president Wellington Takavarasha told Southern Eye Business that they were intensifying plans to formalise the sector, as most small-scale miners are unregistered.
“Only 25 000 out of an estimated 1,5 million small-scale miners are currently registered with Mines ministry,” he said.
“We are intensifying the programme and we are expecting that all the small-scale miners with any production output be registered by year-end.”
Takavarasha said the registration of the small scale miners was part of the efforts to help them access funding to improve their operations, as most are producing below capacity.
He said this was mainly because of financial constraints, as unregistered miners could not access financing neither from banks nor the government.
The government, through the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), recently unveiled a $1 million fund for small-scale miners which, however, could only be accessed by registered players despite the sector significantly contributing to national mineral output.
Small-scale miners last year contributed a third of the national gold production. Output is expected to improve from the sector with the on-going formalisation and the availability of more funds.
The mining council has criticised the failure by authorities to formalise the sector, saying this had deprived the country of millions of dollars in potential revenue, hence the need to quicken the formalisation process.
Small-scale miners are expected to play a critical role in the attainment of the projected 17% growth of the mining sector.
At its peak in the 1990s, the small-scale mining sector contributed almost half of the country’s annual gold output, which declined due to lack of investment in the sector.
ZASMC is expected to conclude joint venture negotiations with the MMCZ to increase output in minerals output.
The envisaged strategic alliance with MMCZ is also expected to enable small-scale miners to acquire new machinery to improve their operations.
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