By Alois Vinga
GOVERNMENT has tabled a plan to establish gold centres which will provide technical and financial assistance to Artisanal Small Scale Miners (ASM).
The move is aimed at improving efficiency and total gold output.
Addressing a business breakfast forum on Thursday, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando said the initiative sought to leave no one behind in terms of mining opportunities and turning the economy around.
“Improving gold production will be achieved through harnessing efforts by small, medium and large scale miners.
“Currently, government is rolling out an initiative for the establishment of gold centres in areas where there is a predominance of ASM.
“The gold centres will therefore provide technical and financial support to the ASM which will go a long way to provide working capital and explosives that will enable the miners to increase their volumes and net returns will be much higher,” he said.
He said currently, ASM are using the hammer mill which only recovers one type of gold while the other types which require going through a metallurgical operation are not paid for and in the end reducing the returns which ASM earn.
“As a result, they cannot invest back into the business. The gold centres will have a consulting metallurgist and offering services such as transportation of the minerals for milling,” he said.
The move is in line with Chitando’s roadmap for the achievement of a US$12 billion mining industry in Zimbabwe by 2023, a 344 percent increase from US$2.7 billion in 2017.
A detailed document which will outline the achievement of the US$12 billion mining industry by 2023 will soon be launched.
Gold and platinum are among the minerals expected to lead the growth in mining revenue, together with minerals like diamonds, chrome and coal.
However, Thomas Gono, chairman of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe’s Gold Producers Association, told a miners conference early this year that at least $1 billion in fresh capital would be required by the sector to achieve this target.
“It is not an illusion that we can achieve 100 tonnes of gold output by 2023,” said Gono, who spoke during a gold mining symposium at the 2019 mining industry annual conference.
“We can actually contribute $4 billion by 2023 and make significant contribution to foreign direct investment. But the gold sector requires in excess of $1 billion in the next five years to sustain the growth and development of the sector to achieve the 2023 target,” Gono noted.