US$5m small gold miners facility ready
The Government has finalised modalities for small-scale gold miners to start accessing financing under the US$5 million Gold Fund launched to capacitate artisanal miners to ramp up gold production.
The funding package is part of a US$10 million gold facility unveiled by the Treasury in February this year and was seen as a timely intervention in the quest to increase gold production among small-scale miners as well as drive the growth of the sector.
Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Dr Polite Kambamura, said that small-scale miners can now access the facility through the ministry’s provincial offices.
“Those willing to apply for the loans can proceed to do so at our provincial offices in their respective provinces. There is no upfront fee that will be paid to any organisation or agents who will be used to access these funds,” he explained.
The move has been welcomed by Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president, Henrietta Rushwaya who described the facility as a lasting solution to the plight of small-scale miners whose operations have been plagued by a lack of funding and limited access to critical equipment.
‘‘This facility is a great intervention in terms of growing our capabilities to increase gold production. We have been crying and pleading for more support and I’m glad that the Government has finally come in handy to assist us,” said Ms Rushwaya.
Fidelity Gold and Refiners (FGR) is setting up buying facilities at gold service centres across the country.
FGR managing director FGR Philip Magaramombe said, ‘‘FGR will be at all the facilities to pay miners and provide other support so that the Government’s goal of achieving the targeted deliveries are achieved.”
Dr Kambamura added that the gold funding facility was expected to provide impetus to the multitude of artisanal miners in increasing production.
“The small-scale gold mining sector remains key in increasing gold production, but more can be realised if we capacitate them for more production and we expect this facility to go a long way in increasing production,” he said.
Since the disbursement of the US$961 million equivalent of IMF Special Drawing Rights in 2021 to Zimbabwe, Treasury has utilised part of the funds to develop critical sectors of the economy and several other similar facilities were available last year to agriculture, manufacturing and tourism industries.
Last year, the small-scale gold mining sector contributed over 65 percent of the 35 tonnes delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners and the sector is anticipated to haul more of the 50-tonne target set this year.