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    Friday, 28 October 2016

    Boost for Zvishavane miners as $20m grant is unveiled



    ALLIEWAY NYONI

    ZVISHAVANE – A $20 million grant for small to medium scale gold miners is on its way as Government is set to release the funding through the Central Bank, RBZ Exchange Control Director Dr Manatsa Mpofu has said.
    This funding is aimed at boosting gold production in the country.
    Doctor Mpofu said this when he delivered the key note address at the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Annual General Meeting held at Pote Hill Hotel in Zvishavane last Friday.
     "The Government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has set aside $20 million meant to benefit small scale miners around the country so that we improve gold production that will strictly be sold through Fidelity Printers. The money is for gold mining only not other minerals, I am sure the government will do something to help other miners but at the moment we are helping gold miners only", he said.
    The miners were happy to hear the good news but were skeptical about the idea as Government once promised $100 million towards the same project a few years back but nothing came, and this promise comes at a time when the economy is on its knees.
    Dr Mpofu said small scale miners were major contributors to the country's gold production, accounting for over 40% of the total gold output.
    "We cannot ignore the huge contribution of small scale miners who are producing almost the same as corporate mines hence if we boost this sector and curb the black market, it is clear that small scale miners will be the highest gold producers in our country," he said.
    Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting Mines and Mining Development Minister, Fred Moyo said Government remains committed to supporting miners through distribution of mining claims and offer mining licenses even to artisanal miners.
    "They (miners) have certain needs that we as Government need to assist that include giving them claims, special grants and proper licensing fees that allow even an ordinary makorokoza (artisanal miner) can obtain. These miners have really made an impact on the country's production that cannot be ignored," said Hon Moyo.
    Meanwhile, ZMF president, Aplonia Munzverengwi said although they were happy with the grant there was need for Government to include the Federation's leadership in the distribution of the money for purposes of transparency.
    "The Government needs to be transparent in the disbursement of these funds through inclusion of unions that represent the miners. There has been a tendency of abusing funds if not properly channeled. Government must also not relax on other needs that include reduction of Environment Impact Assessment and licensing fees simply because they have given us this grant," said Munzverengwi.
    The event was graced by miners' representatives from all over the country, Government officials, Zvishavane Ngezi and Runde legislators, John Holder and Minister Moyo and traditional chiefs.
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