Michael Tome and Kudakwashe Mhundwa
Fidelity Printers and Refiners has so far disbursed close to $29 million from the $40 million gold development initiative availed for small mining players last year.
This funding intervention,which cuts through the whole sector was aimed at capacitating small scale miners across the country. Speaking during a Mine Expo in Bindura last week, Fidelity Printers and Refiners operations manager David Mpofu said small scale miners should take advantage of the fund as it was aimed at capacitating them.
“The fund is targeted at all categories of mining particularly small scale miners. What we require is a transparent proposal notifying us of what you want to do. The proposal should encompass a geological map of where you are mining and a metallurgical report on how much gold is available. “However we implore small scale miners to use proper mining methods and desist from illegal gold panning practices,” said Mr Mpofu.
He further said that the state owned refinery has loosened conditions of accessing the fund as movable assets now qualify as collateral. Mr Mpofu also advised small scale miners to avoid middlemen by selling their gold to Fidelity Printers. This is aimed at boosting the country’s gold reserves and to enhance effective record keeping for individual miners
“We have relaxed conditions for issuing the loans to an extent where livestock can be used as collateral cover. “The loans have to be secured by some asset, because it is a state fund, where we give out the funds expecting a collateral cover,” he said.
According to the Reserve Bank 2016 fourth quarter report, sectorial contributions reviewed that small scale gold producers surpassed large scale producers for the first time in the history of gold production.
Small scale producers delivered a total of 3 163 kgs during the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 2 230 kgs produced during the same period in 2015.
Large scale miners produced 2 959 kgs, compared to 2 935 kgs during the same period. The rise was mainly attributed to increased throughput from primary producers, small scale producers and PGM activities.
Zimbabwe has in recent times prioritised small-scale gold mining operations taking into account the pivotal role small scale miners are playing in the yellow metal’s production.
Government is also in the process of negotiating for a loan facility from South Korea aimed at capacitating small scale miners to boost current production of the sector.
This comes as gold production target for small scale miners this year has been set at 10 tonnes after missing the 2016 target by 600kg, producing 9,4kg in 2016.