Source: $100m miners loan facility to be launched at Mine Entra – Sunday News Jul 17, 2016
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
MINES and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa will officially launch the $100 million loan facility by Chinese mining equipment manufacturer, XCMG Group which will see the availing of the first tranche of mining components worth $5 million to small-scale miners on Friday at the Mine Entra exhibition.
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company board chairman Mr Bekithemba Nkomo said the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) conference to be held concurrently with this year’s Mine Entra exhibition on Friday would see the Mines and Mining Development Minister officially launch the much awaited XCMG $100 million worth of mining equipment loan facility which has been in abeyance since 2012 due to delays by the Government to guarantee a loan from the China Development Bank to fund the acquisition.
Under the deal, the Chinese Development Bank will provide a $100 million loan for the acquisition of mining equipment for small-scale miners. The exhibition is set to run from 20 to 22 July under the theme: “Unearthing Opportunities”.
Of the 117 exhibitors registered as of last week, four were foreign exhibitors with two each coming from China and South Africa.
In terms of local participation, 60 percent of the exhibitors are Harare-based, 35 percent come from Bulawayo while the remaining five percent come from other cities within the country while 90 percent of the exhibitors are returning clients who have exhibited at previous editions of the show.
Mr Nkomo said the ZMF Zimbabwe Miners conference to be held on Friday was a targeted platform for small-scale miners to engage with their policy makers, suppliers and service providers to discuss specific challenges and opportunities within their sector.
“The thrust of this year’s conference is to encourage ASM (Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners) policy input by various stakeholders, with particular reference to the Mines and Minerals Act as well as the de-criminalisation of the possession of gold.
“The programme will therefore feature high level representation from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Environmental Management Agency, CID (Criminal Investigations Department) — Minerals Division as well as some commercial banks. The event will also see the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa launching the US$5 million facility availed by XCMG,” said Mr Nkomo.
XCMG Group, the supplier of the equipment, specialises in mining trucks, motor graders, earthmovers, hoisting equipment and spare parts. The company last sold its XCMG, XT873, XT872 backhoe bulk loaders to customers in Africa and South America in 2012.
The plan to mechanise small-scale gold mining is part of a raft of new measures to decriminalise activities in the sector to increase deliveries to the State-owned Fidelity Printers & Refiners (FPR). Other measures are the partial overhauling of regulations banning alluvial mining in riverbeds, banks, wetlands and any land within 200 metres of naturally defined banks.
ZMF chief executive officer Mr Wellington Takavarasha said the loan facility would go a long way towards capacitating small-scale miners to improve production.
“It has been long awaited and it will be Government’s first programme which will be catering for small-scale and artisanal miners across the country. It will certainly capacitate the small-scale miners to achieve their set production target. We have lamented about this issue and its coming into reality. It’s also a revolving fund meaning we stand to benefit equipment worth more than $5 million when we received the next batches if the facility is properly managed,” said Mr Takavarasha.
Other conferences to be held during the Mine Entra exhibition include inaugural Infrastructure Development Conference and the Mine Entra conference to be held on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.