BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
ZIMBABWE Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya has called on government to re-align mining laws to decriminalise the possession of gold to increase production by artisanal miners.
Speaking at a two-day miners conference in Gweru on Tuesday, Rushwaya said small-scale miners had the capacity to treble gold production if a favourable environment is created for them.
“There is need for re-alignment of laws so that the possession of gold is decriminalised,” she said.
“As miners, we are self-sufficient and masters of our own destiny in contributing to the country’s economy, hence we are committing to government that if our operations as small-scale miners are decriminalised, we will treble our production by the end of December this year.”
She said last year, small-scale miners produced 22 tonnes of gold and added that the sector aimed to make the country a US$12 billion economy by 2023.
Rushwaya said ZMF was in the process of formalising artisanal miners since the majority of them were not registered.
“As small-scale miners, we are making sure that Zimbabwe becomes a $12 billon economy by 2023,” she said.
“There are 1,5 million artisanal miners, but to date, only 30% are registered, hence we are working flat out to make sure that they get formalised.”
Rushwaya added that women, youths and people with disabilities should be given the platform to participate in mining.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Chirumanzu legislator Barbara Rwodzi echoed similar sentiments, saying there was need to increase the presence of women in mining.
“Women make up 10% of Zimbabwe’s 535 000 artisanal and small-scale miners and there is definitely need to increase that number,” she said.