Courtney Matende Midlands Reporter
Small-Scale miners are optimistic of meeting the gold output target of 40 tonnes for this year, on the back of improved electricity supply and incentives from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
In an interview recently, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chairman Mr Makumba Nyenje said electricity supply to the miners had improved by yesterday and they expected to recover from a lot of downtime due to long hours of load-shedding. He said production had taken a significant knock from the load- shedding.
“For the last two to three months we have been quite affected by heavy load-shedding but it seems like electricity supply to the gold milling centres has improved.
‘‘Since Wednesday we have been having electricity and we remain optimistic that if the situation remains like this we can cover up for the lost time by increasing production,” said Mr Nyenje.
He added that the small-scale miners hoped electricity supply will improve towards the end of the year so that they can reach output targets for the yellow metal comfortably. Government on Tuesday last week said it had concluded a deal with South Africa’s Eskom to unlock the supply of 400MW meant to ease load-shedding.
Turning, to fuel, Mr Nyenje said small-scale miners had not been largely affected by the recent upward adjustments in fuel prices as they are cushioned by the 55 percent forex retention facility from the central bank.
“In gold production sector, RBZ allowed us to keep getting 55 percent forex retention, 45 percent is banked in RTGS multiplied at the prevailing bank rate when money is deposited. All we need is availability of fuel,” he said.
He added that the deal between the ZMF and Glow Petroleum had also enabled small-scale miners get frequent fuel supplies.
“We found a major player where Glow Petroleum supplies fuel to miners with an allocation of one million litres per month from RBZ that is given to be only accessed by small-scale miners across the whole nation,” he said.
Mr Nyenje said the only problem was that some mines were located far away from the Glow Petroleum service stations, adding that “arrangements have been made so that miners contribute in groups to buy fuel in bulk and it can be delivered to a place where it is more convenient for them and they share the fuel accordingly”.