Govt seeks gold partnerships Minister Winston Chitando

Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Government is courting private sector players in the development and rolling out of gold centres across the country’s eight mining provinces as it seeks to ramp up production from small scale miners.

This was revealed by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, when he toured Suraj Mining (Pvt) Ltd, a gold milling centre situated in Mutawatawa area in Mashonaland East last week.

Government has identified gold centres as one of the key intervention strategies needed to bridge the gap between small scale miners and some of their legacy challenges that are largely centred on a lack of machinery and technical know-how on modern mining methods.

Despite these challenges, small scale miners have overtaken their primary producer counterparts and are now accounting for over 60 percent of the country’s gold deliveries with Government further underlining their importance by noting that some mineral deposits are more amenable to small scale mining than conglomerate mining.

Speaking after his tour of Suraj Mining, Minister Chitando said Government would like to see more private millers coming on board to work with small scale miners.

“The Suraj model, whilst not an exact replica of a Gold Centre, has a lot of desirable features,” said Minister Chitando.

“Government would like to partner private players in the roll out of Gold Centres throughout the country,” he said.

Suraj Mining director  Mr Surendra Yadav said the milling centre was established as a response to challenges that were affecting small scale miners.

“We started this plant in 2004 because there were no milling services in this area and local miners were struggling to process their gold ore travelling to as far as Shamva and Bindura,” said Mr Yadav.

“So basically what we have been doing is to teach them how to utilise their mines, mine development, blasting and providing them with mining equipment like compressors, pumps and transport.

“We also have been helping with how to register their mines because some don’t have licences or are not aware how to renew these licences,” he said.

Gold is expected to contribute a staggering US$4 billion in annual exports from 2023 onwards in Government’s mining sector US$12 billion milestone strategy.

This will be a huge boost from US$2,7 billion achieved in 2017. There are a number of areas needed to be addressed if the small scale miners are to meaningfully contribute the US$4 billion.

Some of the issues include proper documentation or temporary permits that allow sustainable planning, encouraging the miners to form consortiums for the purposes of pooling human skills and financial resources.

The miners face serious production loss during the rainy season, and this calls for the need to have powerful pumps to address flooding challenges, while some access roads into some of the areas need to be addressed.

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