Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Government has unveiled an ambitious three pronged intervention strategy for the gold mining sector targeting to increase bullion deliveries to 100 tonnes per year over the next five years.
Zimbabwe last year managed 24, 8 tonnes of gold deliveries, as the new administration led by President Mnangagwa targets strong growth to make a middle income status country by 2030.
Agriculture, tourism, the manufacturing sector and mining are expected to be the major drivers of the 2030 vision.
In an interview early this week, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said Government will pursue three strategies which he said will be critical in more than quadrupling the current production to achieve the 100t target.
Making sure that Government owned gold mines, which are controlled through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), are fully utilised, attracting foreign direct investment into the gold sector and capacitating small scale miners to work on claims that are not amenable to mining by large conglomerates form the three strategies Government will pursue.
To date Jena Gold Mine in the Midlands Province and Evington Gold Mine near Chegutu are set for re-opening as ZMDC is currently sifting through papers of 151 investors that have shown interest in the mines.
On attracting foreign direct investment, Government has been on a worldwide whirlwind marketing Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination and President Mnangagwa headlined one such assault at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We have come up with a vision to produce over 100 tonnes of gold (per year) in the next five years,” Minister Chitando said on Tuesday.
“We are going to achieve this via a three pronged approach, firstly, Government through ZMDC owns a number of gold assets and Government is working to ensure that those assets are placed in a situation where they (can) realise their full potential.
“I am sure most of us will be aware that Government went to tender for partners in the various assets, which ZMDC owns. We started with six assets and of those six, two of them are gold.
“The second initiative, which Government has done is to create an environment where there is increased appetite for capital to flow into the mining space and that has been a process which started early in the year through the Davos, conference in Davos.
“Thereafter we then had the mining indaba in Cape Town. Thereafter we had a Conference in London and about three or four weeks back we hand a conference in Canada which was sold out.
“That time (in Canada), the request was for us to have another conference. Canada on it’s on, the Toronto stock exchange, accounts for at least 30 percent of mining capital so it’s an important source of capital,” he said.
The third intervention, Minister Chitando said, will be to capacitate small scale miners who last year accounted for 53 percent of the country’s total gold deliveries.
“The third initiative is to put in funding mechanism for small scale miners. There is the US$10 million fund specific to gold which will be signed sometime next week for rolling out to the small scale miners and the modusi operandi at this stage are not yet quite finalised.
“Government is (also) coming up with the establishment of gold centres and these will be established and rolled out throughout the country.
“The first gold centre which is now very advanced, is being established in Bubi. We have raised the capital in this particular case just under $4 million which is being ploughed into that gold centre. That capital will be used to capacitate about 90 operations to produce ore,” he said.