Small-scale gold miners produced 4,264 killogrammes of gold compared to primary gold producers who produced 3,044 killogrammes in the first quarter of the year, a development that shows that small scale miners play a major role towards the country’s gold output.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation spokesman Dosman Mangisi said with support from Government in the form of machinery and materials, the small-scale miners have the capacity to produce more.
“In 2017, the gold output was 52 percent by small-scale miners, the good times continue to roll. This year, 2018, in the first quarter small-scale miners produced 4,2 tonnes and large scale miners produced 3 tonnes. The greatest challenge they face is mechanisation, there is lack of proper machinery and equipments,” he said.
Mangisi said there are 40 000 registered small-scale miners who contribute towards the output of various minerals in the country.
“The country holds about 40 000 small-scale miners in various minerals which include gold, chrome, gemstones and other minerals. These miners are registered under the Mines and Minerals Act of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mangisi said other countries like Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa also have small-scale miners who contribute towards mineral output.
The Mozambican government estimates that at least 1,500 people are involved in small-scale mining in Manica Province.
The country has gold resources in Tete, Manica and Niassa provinces, where illegal mining is common.
Last year, Zambia indicated willingness to offer two-year permits to small-scale panners.
This move will formalise small-scale mining and processing of gold in Lufunsa, Vubwi, Lwano and Petauke where gold deposits have been found.
Tanzania's small-scale miners and artisanal miners contribute 10 percent of the gold output.
In Zimbabwe, artisanal miners have received support from the Government through a $40 million gold development facility which has enabled them to access improved mineral processing technology.
Government has set a target of 30 tonnes of gold this year, after recording successive delivery increases in the last five years.
Gold has remained the dominant mineral in the country, accounting for about 40 percent of mineral exports.
In January last year, small-scale miners produced 713,5 kgs and in February 686,6 kgs, a decline that was largely due to rains which clogged most mines. In March, small-scale miners produced 682,8kgs of the yellow metal.
Small-scale miners produced 3,163 tonnes of gold in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with 2,958 tonnes produced by large mining operations.