Government has been urged to empower small-scale gold miners if the extractive sector is to fully serve as an engine for economic growth and medium-size miners as a vehicle for economic empowerment.
Irvin Chinyeze, secretary of the Gold Miners’ Association, said without adequate financing either small-scale miners would collapse or would continue to operate below capacity.
He said there was also need to improve the mining standards for the miners in order to enhance gold deliveries.
“The international community should be solicited to enhance foreign investment in the mining sector as well as a source of new brains and ideas in the mining field,” said Chinyeze.
“Employment of appropriate technology is key to successful mining in the 21st Century”.
He said the organisation aims at ensuring that on average gold deliveries from the miners top at least 1,2 tonnes a month.
The organisation said the world over the mining cycle began with small-scale miners.
Chinyeze said large-scale companies continue to dominate the mining landscape as they had a sound capital base that enhances them to undertake mining operations with state-of-the-art equipment.
Presenting a report on the Budget analysis, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy Edward Chindori-Chininga told Parliament on Tuesday that the mining sector offers immense potential for wealth creation for Zimbabweans as it is rich in diamonds, platinum, gold and chrome.
Chindori-Chininga however said most women and youths were unable to break into the sector due to the high levels of capital required.
“Establishing viable mining projects requires finances for claims and licences, purchasing plant equipment, conducting environmental impact assessments and construction of processing plants and other infrastructure.
“Generally women and the youth are unable to raise the required capital or access loans.
“As a result, most women and youth resort to illegal mining activities. For the few women who have managed to break into the sector, their operations are still at a small scale.
He said given the injection of capital required to resuscitate the mining sector and fully explore the mineral wealth of the country, the allocation to the ministry in the 2011 National Budget was inadequate.
“A fund should also be set up to assist women and other marginalised groups to engage in mining,” said Chindori-Chininga.
“This will also reduce the incidence of illegal mining and increase state revenue through issuance of operating licences and collection of royalties.”