SMALL SCALE gold producers outperformed primary miners in the first quarter of the year producing two tonnes more of the yellow metal than the latter.
The small scale miners who have become a significant part of the gold sector produced 6,169.29kg in the period under review compared to primary producers who produced 4,027.85kg.
The produce is sold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the country`s sole gold buyer.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation, an association that represents artisanal and small scale miners, attributed the continued growth to improved efficiencies in the extraction of the lucrative mineral.
“Small scale miners are increasing output on a month to month basis due to a number of factors. Firstly small scale gold producers now shun the taking of ores to customer Miller’s preferring to do for themselves what we call onsite milling which has more beneficiation, the high appetite of using hammer Mills by the miners which are affordable,” said ZMF spokeperson, Dosman Mangisi.
Mangisi added that the growth in production was also due to the mechanisation of operations from small scale miners who benefitted from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gold Development loan facility.
Most small scale miners still use rudimentary methods to extract the gold a situation that exposes them to hazardous chemicals and life threatening situations.
“The Fidelity loans are now starting to pay dividends, a majority of miners took loans to address the extraction part and also the processing part as well as the decriminalization by RBZ to allow artisanal gold miners to sell direct to Fidelity Printers and Refiners gold weighing above 5grams,” said Mangisi.
Small scale miners have also benefitted from mining equipment which they get from suppliers at reasonable prices.
The government is in the process of amending the Mines and Minerals Act which does not cater for the small scale sector, in a bid to increase gold production in the country.