HARARE: Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on Wednesday launched a 10-million-U.S.-dollar revolving facility to support value addition and beneficiation by artisanal and small-scale gold miners (ASGM) who account for the bulk of gold produced in the country.
Ncube said at a press conference that 5 million dollars will go to the construction of six gold service centres to improve access to critical services by artisanal and small-scale gold miners while the other 5 million dollars will be used to provide loans to the miners to boost production.
He said the 10 million U.S. dollars are drawn from the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation of 961 million U.S. dollars made to Zimbabwe by the International Monetary Fund in 2021.
Gold is Zimbabwe’s top mineral export, raking in 1.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.
In recent years, artisanal and small-scale gold miners have produced more than half of the country’s gold production, hence the government’s efforts to support them.
The country’s gold output last year reached a record high of 35.38 tonnes, with artisanal and small-scale miners contributing 65.5 percent.
“In support of the ASGM, adequate capacitation of the ASGM is critical to ensure that the country achieves the 12 billion mining industry by end of 2023,” Ncube said.
He said the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation will be the implementing agency for the Gold Service Center Revolving Facility while the Ministry of Mines will run the Artisanal Gold Small Scale Miners Facility.
“These facilities are revolving funds and as such, the government expects the beneficiaries to repay the loans made available to them to enable other beneficiaries to benefit in the future,” he said.