The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
MUSIMBOTI Traditional Science and Technology Institution through its engineering division has manufactured a hammer mill compatible for use by small-scale miners in a bid to enhance their production.
Company managing director Mr Morgan Zimunya said the institute has been working on the new invention for the past three years.
“We have been working on coming up with a hammer mill, which is compatible for use by small-scale miners. The new equipment meets local conditions and doesn’t require primary crushing of the ore. The gold ore especially from this region is very hard but we have designed the machine to handle it,” said Mr Zimunya.
A hammer mill is a mill whose purpose is to shred or crush aggregate material into smaller pieces by the repeated blows of little hammers. Mr Zimunya said the hammer mill is manufactured using 80 percent of local raw material.
“Most of the material we use to manufacture our hammer mill is local and that gives it a longer lifespan and in the event of a breakdown the backup spares can be easily sourced. One of the hammer mills is currently on a trial run and we are looking at launching for distribution into the market soon.
We, however, endeavour to continue manufacturing various mining equipment which suit small-scale miners,” he said.
One of the reasons small-scale miners are classified as such is largely due to the kind of equipment and machinery they use. In most mining areas in the country, small-scale miners use traditional techniques and low level equipment in excavation or digging. These tools are often not sufficient to carry out their activities and thus, they often do not perform to their maximum capabilities.
The lack of equipment is worsened by the fact that miners do not have starting capital in order to acquire modern machinery. More so, miners have no access to credit from formal financial institutions for them to finance their operational requirements. The company has also introduced a number of mining courses specifically aimed at imparting small-scale and artisanal miners with the requisite skills in mining.
“The course is designed to recognise the practical fact that mining like all other important sectors is not the domain of academics only but rather the combined or aggregated efforts of experienced miners and willing up takers. The importance of the mining courses is in the light of unemployment and the desperation of young people to earn a living. The primary target groups would be small-scale miners, artisanal small-scale miners, youth in mining, women in mining among others,” said Mr Zimunya.
Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation chief executive officer Mr Wellington Takavarasha said MTSTI’s latest innovation was a welcome development since most small-scale and artisanal miners relied on rudimental tools for extraction.
“We appreciate the innovation by the institution and any that will have been done by local engineering companies because over the years companies were manufacturing machinery which best suited big mines but we are now seeing a shift with a number of them manufacturing equipment tailor made for small scale miners.
“We, however, appreciate innovations that promote sustainable mining issues and over and above all the equipment or machinery have to be affordable and durable. Engineering companies have to take note of the fact that they are plenty of people to supply and as an organisation we are making efforts that miners desist from the rudimental way of mining,” said Mr Takavarasha.