MUTARE — Government has finally secured the insurance required by the Chinese government to unlock a US$100 million loan facility to acquire mining equipment for small scale miners, the Financial Gazette can report.
The fund is being availed by the Chinese Development Bank and will largely benefit gold miners.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is expected to activate the fund within the next few weeks.
The US$100 million loan facility was initially planned for 2012 but was delayed by outstanding contractual agreements.
Mines and Mining Development deputy minister, Fred Moyo, assured small scale gold miners that the fund was ready for draw down.
“I can confirm definitely that the Chinese fund is now ready for draw down,” Moyo said during a business meeting organised by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce in Mutare.
“Government has anchored the insurance that the Chinese wanted. It’s ready in my office and just waiting for the Ministry of Finance to activate it. I want that to happen in the next few weeks. Equipment will be coming through,” he said.
Moyo said they had tasked the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) to come up with modalities to distribute equipment.
“And ZMF, we just want the model you are going to use to give out the equipment to be well thought out. We don’t want those who already have, those who have capacity to support themselves through collateral; they must not be the ones that should continue to get. We want to spread the facility to as many small scale miners as possible,” he said.
Moyo revealed that government had secured another US$5 million loan facility from international partners for women in mining.
He said the fund was ready and could be accessed through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
This coincides with a US$18 million facility established to capacitate three Bulawayo firms to manufacture mining equipment.
The facility is jointly spearheaded by the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
During the same meeting, Moyo revealed that government had increased the gold production target for small scale miners in the eastern border province by 600 percent to 700 kilogrammes by end of this year from 100 kilogrammes in 2016.
“Last time we wanted 100 kilogrammes of gold from you and you managed to produce half a tonne. So this year we want three quarters from you, which is 700 kilogrammes of gold. If you manage to surpass it and do a tonne, our ministry will be very happy,” he said.
Moyo said other provinces were given targets to produce two to three tonnes during the same period.
He said that if Manicaland manages to surpass the target, government would avail more financial support to the miners.
There are an estimated 1,5 million artisanal and small scale miners in the country with only a third registered.