THE continued cash shortages at Fidelity Printers and Refiners are derailing efforts to encourage small-scale miners and artisanal miners to formalise, the Manicaland Miners Association has said.
This was highlighted during a MMA stakeholder meeting last Friday held at Odzi Country Club in Mutare. Small-scale miners expressed concern over the cash shortages that Fidelity Printers and Refiners was facing irregularly since last year.
“At times we deposit gold worth $10 000, but we are paid $1 000. This will promote people to deal with black market rates. A lot of strides have been made to encourage artisanal miners and small-scale miners to sell their gold to Fidelity, but the cash shortages will only impede all these steps forward,” said one of the small-scale gold miners in attendance.
Another small-scale gold miner echoed the same sentiments saying Fidelity Printers should have notified customers of the cash shortages to avoid unnecessary inconveniences for those that would have been in urgent need of cash.
“I got stranded when I learnt that there was no cash after I had deposited my gold. I had no cash with me as I had pinned hope on this sale. I had to borrow in order to fuel my car to go back to home and pay people I owed their money,” said another gold miner.
MMA chairman, Mr Lovemore Kasha, said scores of small-scale gold miners were left stranded when Fidelity Printers’ gold buying points ran out of cash last month without any notification.
Manicaland mines director in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Engineer Christopher Dube, also expressed his disgruntlement with the cash shortages.
He, however, said Government was also pushing for the use of plastic money.
“Personally, I am not happy at all. Just when we had started making progress on gold deliveries these cash shortages at Fidelity start again. It is really a worrying issue with dire consequences that we are addressing without delay as a ministry.
“However, the ministry is also pushing for the use of plastic money as an alternative. Plastic money offers a safe, convenient and low-cost way to transact on a day-to-day basis. For big companies we have already started using plastic money,” said Eng Dube. — Manica Post.