The government of Zimbabwe plans to craft new legislation that will enable mining rights to be bankable so as to attract more investors and raise working capital for the sector, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Polite Kambamura, has said according to the local publication Chronicle.
Speaking during the small-scale mining conference held at the just ended Mine Entra expo in Bulawayo, the Deputy Minister said Government was aware of the challenges facing small-scale miners and that measures were being put in place to cushion them.
“I will soon sit with my minister (Winston Chitando) to see how mining rights can be mortgage-able, how they can be bankable or transferrable,” 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.”
Deputy Minister Kambamura said elsewhere in the world including the developed world, countries have promulgated laws that enable mining rights to be bankable. In an interview after the conference, Deputy Minister Kambamura said by making mining rights bankable, banks would be able to do their 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 resources 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.
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 Deputy Minister Kambamura. He said local investors should actively participate in economic reconstruction programmes adding that small-scale miners have the potential to grow bigger.
Deputy Minister 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 to enable small-scale miners increase output of the yellow metal.
Zimbabwe’s gold mining sector clocked 28-tones 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.