Small-scale miners contribute 63pc of gold deliveries

THE first 10 months of the year saw 26,2 tonnes of gold mined and sold against a set target of 40 tonnes, with small-scale miners contributing 63 percent of the gold deliveries.

Mines and Mining Development Minister, Zhemu Soda, released the figures on Monday during the 2023 fourth quarter gold mobilisation send-off workshop for teams that will visit five gold producing provinces to assess their production processes as part of efforts to improve deliveries through formal channels.

“Looking at the current production in 2023, gold producers have delivered a total of 26,2 tonnes of gold to Fidelity Gold Refinery for the period January to October 2023 against a set target of 40 tonnes. 

“Out of the 26,2 tonnes, small scale miners contributed about 63 percent,” he said.

However, Minister Soda said gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refiners by small-scale miners had decreased from 20,1 tonnes last year to 16,5 tonnes. 

“The decreased gold production from small-scale miners, who are the major contributors of gold delivered to Fidelity Gold Refiners, is a result of poor mechanisation in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector and lack of geological reports to assess the resources within mining locations. 

“As a way to mitigate the challenges, the Government of Zimbabwe has set aside US$5 million towards capacitation of small-scale miners and another US$5 million was channelled into the establishment of five gold service centres,” he said.

Gold service centres are one-stop-shops that offer technical services to miners, access to milling, access to capital and a ready market for gold for small-scale miners, thus the presence of Fidelity Gold Refiners. 

Minister Soda said the centres envisage a holistic approach to service provision, in terms of provision of technical support, transport, milling services, on-site technical guidance to the miners, laboratory services, equipping the miners, purchasing gold realised by the miners and assisting miners repair their broken-down equipment as well as supply of consumables. 

“This guarantees provision of feedstock to the centre as well as formalisation of mining activities by artisanal and small-scale miners,” said Minister Soda. 

Already, the Ministry Mines is setting up a pilot service centre in Makaha, Mutoko and the centre is set to be commissioned soon. 

Minister Soda said gold mobilisation exercises continue to be one of the initiatives to spearhead the growth of the gold mining sub-sector and its main purpose is to boost gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refinery and also to minimise leaks. 

“The exercise is an audit to account for all stages of the gold production process in order to ensure transparency and accountability, thus decreasing illicit gold mining activities,” he said.

Herald

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