The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting the artisanal and scale-scale miners sector, while it has called on them to ensure they sell their minerals through formal channels.
Curbing minerals leakages is a critical component of ensuring the Government will be able to meet its US$12 billion mining industry target by the end of the year. Speaking recently at the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Small-Scale Mining Conference, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Pfungwa Kunaka said all miners were important for the growth of the mining sector.
“All miners are important and this is the attitude that we have as a Ministry. We do not seek to segregate between small, medium and big. All miners are important because we have work to do for Zimbabwe and the mining sector remains very important. All of us have to work hard on the sector and give the economy what it deserves from mining.
“We welcome the continued support, especially in the gold sector from one of our institutions, Fidelity Gold Refinery and l believe they have given empowerment to our miners in ensuring that they are paid for the gold they deliver on time. We continue to encourage our miners in gold to continue using that route where they sell their mineral formally. As a Ministry, we are there to work for you and let us open the doors for communication and consultation going forward.”
He said the contribution of the artisanal and small-scale sector has been encouraging as they contribute about 60 percent of the country’s gold output. Mr Kunaka said the sector also contributed to employment creation, high volumes of minerals production and their marketing as well.
“We have seen a phenomenon where in our towns and cities small-scale miners are contributing in harnessing development. I wish to congratulate all miners because they are now an important factor to reckon with in the economy.”
Mr Kunaka said there was need to continue discussing how to support the small-scale mining sector, educate and create the necessary awareness that is essential in the sector. He challenged the miners to ensure they practice responsible mining to ensure they operate within the confines of the law.
“Our leader, President Mnangagwa has continued to say let’s have responsible mining and we want to rise to that occasion so that all of us get guidance and get awareness so that we are mining responsibly going forward. I know the issue of safety is important, but l also challenge you to say even the issues of drugs that we continue to moan about in our youths, we need to be addressing them.
“This sector is also an area which needs attention as we run with this agenda of addressing drugs abuse.”
According to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, there are about 50,000 registered small-scale miners in the country who employ at least 10 workers each on average.