The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
THE Government has licensed 11 companies to partner the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) to embark on riverbank mining as it forges ahead to increase production of the yellow metal.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Mine Entra mining conference last Thursday, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said the Government has licensed 11 companies to enter into a joint venture with ZMDC to extract gold on the banks of the country’s major rivers with more miners expected to be granted licences soon.
“There are 11 companies, which we licensed to do riverbank mining but with an overwhelming response of miners coming to our offices asking about the same we have set up a committee, which will deliberate on the modus on how best we will structure management of riverbank mining.
“As you may be aware we have plenty rivers in our country, which are gold rich but we want the gold to be systematically mined for the benefit of the country.
That’s why we have set up a committee in the ministry, which will be spearheading that process,” he said although he added it was too early to reveal the names of the companies.
Dep Minister Kambamura said upon setting up proper structures to manage extraction of the yellow metal along the country’s water sources the ministry would call for more players to partner ZMDC in tapping the mineral.
“After we have come up with proper management systems we will issue a press statement inviting companies to come and apply for river bed mining,” he said.
The production of alluvial gold, present along all the major rivers draining the greenstone belts, has largely been the domain of illegal gold panners.
Meanwhile, Dep Minister Kambamura said a crack Gold Mobilisation team disbursed by the ministry early this year to investigate activities at all the country’s gold centres after suspicions of underhand dealings and failure to account for the yellow metal processed at their plants has discovered a number of irregularities and anomalies, which point out to leakages.
“We noted that a lot of gold milling companies are not keeping records of their production-gold ore milled on their site, their monthly or weekly production and elusion results.
There are no records and that’s a thing of concern.
The Mines and Minerals Acts say they should be keeping production reports,” he said.
Dep Minister Kambamura said milling companies that would be found to be involved in underhand dealing risk being closed.
“They should be keeping reports of all the ore that comes to their milling plants, so we suspect there is something fishy going on.
There are investigations going on to try and see what exactly is going on and how Government can intervene and come up with policy intervention in that regard.
If we find anyone offline we will close down the milling centre,” he said.