Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT is engaging the country’s largest gold producer Metallon Corporation with a view to finding a lasting solution to the miner’s problems which has seen it placing hundreds of workers on retrenchment notice.
The miner which has a firm footprint in Zimbabwe through How Mine, Mazowe Mine, Shamva Mine and Redwing Mine last week placed Mazowe Mine under care and maintenance and consequently handed notices of employment termination to hundreds of its employees.
The firm’s troubles have gotten Government worried and authorities are keen to see the company that holds the largest chunk of the country’s gold resource not only returning to its previous production levels but operating at 100 percent.
The engagements, according to Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, are also important in light of Government’s quest to grow the country’s gold production from just over 24, 8 tonnes in 2017 to 100 tonnes annually.
Together with other important sectors like agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, mining has been primed to play a key role in Zimbabwe’s economic revival which President Mnangagwa has said should see the attainment of upper middle income status by the year 2030.
“Government has been and will be working with Metallon to firm up short and long term interventions required to enable Metallon held assets to fully contribute to Government’s vision,” Minister Chitando said in an interview on Friday.
“A number of meetings have been held with Metallon shareholder representatives and financial advisors over the necessary interventions. Further meetings are earmarked this coming week (this week).
“President Mnangagwa has come up with the 2030 vision for Zimbabwe to be a medium income economy with mining expected to play a key role in this vision.
“In turn, the Ministry of Mines has come up with a milestone to increase mining revenues from 2, 6 billion last year to over 12 billion in 2023.
“Included in this milestone is an increase in gold production from the current levels to over 100 tonnes by 2023 and this will include a significant contribution from Metallon as such Government is determined to see the Metallon owned assets and indeed all mining assets being fully exploited for the economic benefit of this country,” he said.
Minister Chitando also said Government was engaging the miner over the issue of retrenched workers who have been served with work termination letters at a time Government is working to eradicate unemployment in the country.
“Discussions (between Government and Metallon) are in progress over the matter,” said the Minister.