Crippling power cuts, rising operational costs and failure to access lines of credit continue to threaten Zimbabwe’s estimated 1,5 million small-scale miners.
However, there is hope within the sector that tomorrow’s 2020 budget presentation by the Southern African country’s finance minister Mthuli Ncube will deliver a much needed kiss of life.
Small scale miners contribute over half of the country’s gold output and local miner Peter Ganya argues it’s about time Government incentivises them.
“The mining sector is the most important sector in the country right now, it is keeping the economic wheels turning and what we need to do is to stimulate production.
“The finance minister is in a catch 22 situation but the budget gives us hope as small scale miners, hope that some of the economic ills that are making business difficult will be addressed,” said Ganya.
Government, he added, needs to also ensure that miners get regular power supplies as load shedding is choking production.
“As miners we agreed to pay for our electricity in foreign currency because we appreciate that power is imported,” said Ganya.
“However, the situation with regards power supply has not improved like what the authorities promises. In all honesty it has become worse, we get cut off for most of the day but still are expected to pay Zesa in foreign currency. How do we do that?
“Mining is not a low hanging fruit, it needs investment and it needs to be supported. President Mnangagwa is sincere when he talks of turning around the country’s economic and as small scale miners we are ready to back him.
“Hopefully the budget will add impetus to ongoing efforts to turn around the economy because as it is now small scale miners are surviving by the grace of God.”
In his pre –budget statement Minister Ncube noted that cooperation between Government and the private sector is key.
“The mining sector is set to be a US$12 billion industry by year 2023. This requires collective efforts between Government and the private sector to invest in exploration, extraction, value addition and beneficiation across all minerals,” said Ncube.