Masvingo — Small scale gold miners countrywide continue to contribute a larger chunk of Zimbabwe’s yellow metal production having produced over 12 tonnes of bullion in the first eight months of this year.
Small scale miners have dwarfed primary producers in gold output with the Zimbabwe Mining Federation(ZMF) calling for more support from Government for the sector which has vast potential to further ramp up output of the yellow metal in line with Vision 2030.
Figures released by ZMF show that they have so far produced about 12,4 tonnes of gold out of the over 19 tonnes of the yellow metal that has been produced in Zimbabwe in the first eight months of this year.
Addressing small scale miners in Gororo communal lands, Ward 28 in Chivi over the weekend, ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya challenged small scale miners to register with her organisation for them to benefit from Government support.
Ms Rushwaya decried rampant corruption by law enforcement agents who were in the habit of demanding bribes from small scale miners saying such rotten elements should be reported to ZACC.
“We must be registered as small scale miners so that even corrupt elements who come in the cover of darkness to fleece you of your hard earned cash know that you are registered members of ZMF. As an organisation, we will always be there to protect you from unwarranted harassment by corrupt law enforcement agents,” she said.
The ZMF president urged small scale miners to abide by the Environmental Management Agency regulations by making sure their mining operations do not harm the environment for the benefit of future generations.
“We are targeting women and youths in our programme to equip small scale miners. All this is because of the support that we got from President Mnangagwa who is happy with the contribution by small scale miners to aggregate national gold output. Our President in return, wants us to conduct our operations according to the law with the gold that we produce being delivered to Fidelity Refiners,” she said.
Ms Rushwaya lamented that some companies had acquired Exclusive Prosecting Orders(EPOs) for vast tracts of land in gold-rich areas denying communities domiciled there to benefit from their ancestral wealth.
He singled out the 65 000ha EPO covering the gold-rich Ngundu area for trying to deny inhabitants there from benefiting from their natural resource.
“We will engage Government as ZMF for the EPO cover in Chivi Ward 28 and surrounding areas to be lifted.
There are people’s homes and grazing lands and these people need to be respected because it is the land of their forefathers. President Mnangagwa wants people of Zimbabwe to benefit from their God-given resources,”she said.
Ms Rushwaya undertook to engage the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to have the Ngundu EPO removed saying President Mnangagwa’s government was sensitive to the wishes of citizens as the nation angles towards becoming an empowered upper middle income society by 2030.
Ngundu Mining Association chair Mr Nyasha Ngundu appealed to Government to urgently remove the EPO straddling 65 000ha around Ngundu and surrounding areas saying its presence was stifling plans to increase output of the yellow metal.
Mr Ngundu said communities in the area should accrue direct benefits from natural endowments in their ancestral land saying it would be unfair for foreigners to come and benefit from their natural resources.
Ngundu and surrounding areas is very rich in gold with small scale miners setting a foothold in the area,a development that has eased unemployment and boost family incomes.