The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has availed RTGS$21,7 million to assist women and youths in small-scale mining to boost their operations.
Speaking recently in Gwanda during a workshop for small-scale miners in Matabeleland South Province, RBZ deputy director at the Bulawayo regional office Kasanda Sibanda urged small-scale miners to fully utilise the funding facility to expand their operations.
“The bank has extended financial inclusion facilities for women and the youth through local banks but utilisation has been very low. RTGS$15 million was allocated for women and RTGS$3,3 million has been disbursed so far while RTGS$10 million was allocated for youths and RTGS$0,3 million has been disbursed,” he said.
“The bank is in the process of reviewing the facilities with the view to increase their utilisation. Those that have accessed these facilities need to pay up and it’s important for organisations such as Minex to mobilise, educate and encourage miners to utilise and repay facilities extended to them.”
Sibanda said the apex bank was committed to ensuring that full potential of the small-scale miners was realised.
He said the bank was aware of challenges faced by small-scale miners, which included high cost of capital, production, fluctuating commodities and high cost of consumables used in the production of minerals.
Sibanda urged local banking institutions and suppliers of critical
raw materials and equipment to
come up with facilities to support small-scale miners as mining played a crucial role in the development of the economy.
He said there was a need to ensure that all mining claims in the country were fully utilised to increase chrome and gold production
“The mining sector is viewed as a locomotive of Zimbabwe’s development agenda. Under the new dispensation mining is taking a pivotal role in the revival of the economy.
“The current development process is underpinned by the economy’s capacity to generate sufficient foreign exchange to meet its requirements.
“In this regard mineral exports play a pivotal role in the generation of the much needed foreign exchange,” he said.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last year availed US$150 million through Fidelity Printers and Refineries to fund both working capital and capital requirements under the Gold Development Initiative Fund.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) senior official, Nyenje Makumba, called on Government to be lenient with miners before forfeiting the claims.
“A number of small-scale miners have a challenge of losing their claims that are being forfeited by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development over non payment of levies. This forces some miners to end up engaging in illegal mining activities. Government will be urging them to formalise their operations while forfeiting claims on the other hand,” he said.
“Some of these miners that lose their mines are disadvantaged members of the community such as people living with disabilities and they will be hoping to be empowered through mining.”
Makumba said there was need for Government to assist suppliers of mining equipment and other consumables in sourcing these products. He said suppliers were charging in forex, which made it difficult for small scale miners to access products.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) provincial officer, Sithembokuhle Moyo, urged miners to adhere to environmental and safety regulations in their operations. Mat South provincial mining director, Tichaona Makuza, explained steps involved in regularising claims, issuance and monitoring and the implications of the Mines and Minerals Act on artisanal miners.