Government will establish a mining industry Loan Fund, through provisions incorporated in the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, for tailor-made support to women in mining in particular and small-scale miners in general, a senior official has said.
Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Onesimo Moyo, told a Women in Mining Conference mining sector, infrastructure and transport stakeholders exhibition, Mine Entra 2018, in Bulawayo recently that while the fund was yet to be capitalised, the idea was something Government was seriously considering.
Moyo said Government, through opening up the economy to both domestic and foreign investment, was looking to create inclusive and sustainable opportunities for all stakeholders.
In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, anyone above 18 years can apply to Government for mineral rights in respect of more than 40 top minerals across the world, which are all found in the country.
Government decriminalised small-scale, a more precisely, or artisanal mining about four years ago following the realisation that the sector had immense potential to contribute to national economic growth.
For instance, last year small-scale miners contributed about 43 percent of the 24,8 tonnes haul from the gold mining sector, Zimbabwe’s second biggest export earner after tobacco.
The secretary for Mines and Mining Development said the sector was important to the economic recovery of Zimbabwe and provided opportunities across the entire value chain, which Government enhances.
It was against this background, Moyo said, that Government sought to create favourable conditions to ensure that the mining sector contributed more to economic development, including through policies that promote value addition.
“In the new Bill that is currently being looked at by Government, small-scale miners have been defined, which indicates that Government is taking a serious look at how best small-scale miners can be uplifted,” he said.
“Before, the Act was silent on small-scale miners, but now we have included the term small-scale miners, which indicate the importance we give to the small-scale miners,” he said.
“There is also something that is provided for in the Bill, which is the Mining Industry Loan Fund, it may not be fully funded at the moment but is something that the ministry is trying to ensure that the facility is tailor made to be gender sensitive, it can be tailor made to the needs of the small-scale miners. So it is our hope that you can take advantage of this facility to capitalise your Mines and increase productivity, “ Moyo added.
Further, he added that women and small-scale miners should take advantage of the duty free imports policy of Government on capital mining equipment, which allows miners to get rebate on all imported mining equipment.