Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is working on modalities to avail additional funding for small scale miners as an incentive for delivering gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
This was said by RBZ chief inspector Exchange Control, Mr Onias Masiiwa during his presentation at the Kwekwe Mining Expo in the mining town last week. The fund will be an addition to the $150 million loan facility that the small-scale miners received last year as a way of capacitating their operations.
Mr Masiiwa said the increase in gold production that Fidelity Printers and Refiners is receiving from small-scale miners prompted the idea to channel more funding.
“On top of the $150 million that the sector received, we are working on modalities to unlock more funding for the small-scale miners. This was prompted by the impressive tonnage of gold that we are receiving from the small-scale miners,” he said.
Since January, the small-scale miners have so far contributed 13,6 tonnes of gold to Fidelity as compared to 5,7 tonnes for the same period last year. The large-scale miners in comparison have contributed 7,8 tonnes as compared to 6,3 tonnes last year.
“Since the unveiling of the fund last year, we have recorded a 60 percent increase in gold production from the small-scale miners. These are impressive figures that we would want to see increasing in future hence the plan to unlock more funding,” he said.
He said of the fund, 20 percent will be channelled towards women miners and a certain percentage that RBZ is still working on will be set aside for youths. Mr Masiiwa said RBZ remains optimistic that the funding scheme will address challenges faced by small-scale miners.
“We want to see small scale miners setting up their gold processing centres, buying their explosives and other equipment using the fund. This in turn will boost gold deliveries to Fidelity,” said Mr Masiiwa.
The mining expo was meant to bring together miners and stakeholders and share information to improve the sector.