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Small-scale miners hail budget

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THE $100 million credit facility for artisanal small-scale miners proposed in the 2014 national budget and moves to decriminalise operations of informal players in the mining sector will lift output by more than double, an official has said.

GAMMA MUDARIKIRI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Council (Zamsc) president Wellington Takavarasha said the new measures will go a long way in addressing the plethora of challenges small-scale miners were facing.

“The biggest challenge artisanal miners have been facing was shortage of working capital and equipment,” he said.

“The $100 million credit facility, although we are not yet clear about its terms, is a welcome move and it will definitely improve our production volumes.”

Small-scale miners have been struggling to access loans from financial institutions largely due to lack of collateral.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his budget last Thursday pledged a $100 million loan facility for artisanal miners adding that the government was also finalising legislation to decriminalise the informal mining sector.

Chinamasa said small-scale mining activities employed thousands in the country and the majority of the players lacked skills.

“In order to encourage the participation of financial institutions in supporting small-scale mining activity, I am proposing tax incentives for financial institutions who accept geologically surveyed claims as collateral for small-scale miners’ borrowing requirements,” said Chinamasa.

The government recently said it would finalise the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act by the end of January next year.

The amendment is expected to usher in a policy decriminalising the operations of informal small-scale miners.

This is expected to be followed by the finalisation of a comprehensive Minerals Development Policy, which Chinamasa said would establish an internationally competitive, stable and conducive business climate to attract investment in the mining sector.

He said the numerous mining claims held by mining companies and individuals for long periods for speculative purposes was inhibiting the growth of the mining sector and as such should be stopped.

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