The Sunday News
Judith Phiri , Business Reporter
THE Young Miners Foundation (YMF) has embarked on a mentorship incubation and acceleration programme to assist youths in mining formalise and professionalise their operations.
This comes at a time the mining sector continues to register significant strides towards realising the ambitious US$12 billion milestone by the end of this year.
In an interview, YMF chief executive officer (CEO), Mr Payne Kupfuwa said formalisation was key to positively contributing to the national target.
“Preparations are at an advanced stage as we are set to roll out the mentorship incubation and acceleration programme. The aim is to increase formalisation and professionalisation of young miners to create more formal jobs and business opportunities in the mining value chain for the youths,” he said.
“We have been meeting quite a number of established mining entrepreneurs in and around the county who are also interested in partnering with us in the programme. Youths in mining should be able to own mining enterprises that they can then grow from small scale to medium scale.”
He said they have been moving all around the provinces identifying front-line youth miners’ projects that will benefit from the programme.
Mr Kupfuwa said they have partnered with a successful mining entrepreneur Mr Tobias Kadenhe of Trustford Mines in Kwekwe for the programme.
“The goal is to groom and mentor productive youth miners who want to upgrade and upscale their operations to medium if not large scale. So, Trustford Mines does not only inject mining equipment, consumables, capital expenditures and operating expenses investment at the selected gold mines operated by young miners, but will also offer training on how to effectively manage a mining enterprise to boost efficiency and grow,” he said.
He said the programme will run for an agreed period of time until the youth miners are capable of running their mining operations profitably.
Mr Kupfuwa said the outcome was to also create more formal jobs as the programme will ensure about 100 youth miners upgrade and upscale their operations from small-scale mines to medium-scale.
He added: “To ensure that miners also utilise opportunities that are there in the mining value chain, we partnered with the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and the Zimbabwe School of Mines (ZSM) for training programmes for youth artisanal and small-scale miners as a way of formalising them and curbing smuggling of minerals out of the country.”
Mr Kupfuwa said the knowledge and skills acquired during training programmes has seen youth miners develop and expand operations in the mining value chain from exploration which is the actual finding of the mineral, the mining, processing and beneficiation.
Meanwhile, the mining sector continues to experience heightened activity as evidenced by the re-opening of old mines and new ones coming on board.
This is in line with the Government’s set ambitious target for the mining sector to realise US$12 billion by end of this year.
According to official reports, the mining sector has attracted more than US$6 billion in investments since 2018, growing its earnings from an average US$2,7 billion to about US$10 billion last year.
This has been largely driven by renewed investor confidence as “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”, leading to the opening of new small-scale and large-scale mining projects in different mineral-rich areas.