Zimbabwe is working on a raft of measures, among them promulgating laws that will make mining rights bankable as it seeks to attract investors, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura, has said.
Speaking during the small-scale mining conference held at the just ended Mine Entra Expo in Bulawayo, the Kambamura said the Government was aware of the challenges facing small-scale miners, particulary funding.
“I will soon sit with my minister (Winston Chitando) to see how mining rights can be mortgageable…how they can be bankable or transferable,” he said.
“We are trying to catch up with other nations in attracting investors in the mining sector. In order to achieve this, small-scale miners need to continue engagement with both Government and other stakeholders including policy makers to facilitate their inclusion and participation in their areas of interest.”
Elsewhere in the world including the developed world, countries have come up with laws making mining rights bankable.
Kambamura said by making mining rights bankable, banks would do assessments and secure a guarantee that the money being loaned out is secure based on the mineral reserves and grade.
“Currently in Zimbabwe, we do not have such legislation and it’s limiting potential miners from tapping into mineral resource despite sitting on rich ore reserves. But because of lack of collateral such as cattle or immovable property, the miner cannot borrow a loan say of $500 000 to finance the project,” he said.
“In this light, my ministry will be taking it to Parliament for approval and I think we will make it come in as we amend the Mines and Minerals Act bearing in mind how best we can assist the local miners.”
Earlier in his address, Deputy Minister Kambamura said there was also the need for Government to come up with “water tight” policies to curb illicit dealings such as smuggling of minerals.
“There are some operators in the mining industry who are already going out of the law, just because we have opened the doors. Last week my minister went to Bindura and shut down a milling operation.
“How can one declare a kilogramme of gold in five months, that leaves everyone with eyebrows open because if you go on the ground you see tonnes and tonnes of mineral ore,” he said.
Government has adopted the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra hence all-stakeholders including artisanal and small-scale miners should not just wait for external investors to rebuild the economy, said Kambamura. He said local investors should actively participate in economic reconstruction programmes adding that small-scale miners have the potential to grow bigger.
As a complimentary measure, Kambamura highlighted that Government would continue to provide assistance to the sector through the mining industry loan fund and the gold development initiative fund.
In 2017, Government disbursed the $50 million loan fund to companies that manufacture mining and
mineral processing equipment for small-scale miners as part of capacitating them to enhance their production.
Under the gold fund through Fidelity Printers and Refiners, Government has availed $150 million package to enable small-scale miners increase output of the yellow metal. Zimbabwe’s gold mining sector clocked 28-tonnes deliveries by end of September prompting Government to review this year’s 30-tonne target to 35 tonnes.
Small-scale miners maintained their lead in terms of gold output in the third quarter delivering a cumulative total of 19,2 tonnes during the period under review.
Primary producers on one hand delivered a cumulative total of 9,02 tonnes. Both primary and small-scale producers have delivered a congregated figure of 28,2 tonnes of the yellow metal to Fidelity by end of third quarter.