The Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube launched a US$10 million gold fund targeting small-scale and artisanal miners with half going towards loans and the other half to funding more processing and buying centres.
This year, the Government is targeting production of over 50 tonnes to be delivered as a result of the support for artisanal and small-scale miners and expansion of mines by the major mining houses.
The revolving loan facility, will be broken into two, with US$5 million set aside for the establishment of the artisanal gold and small-scale miners fund, while the remainder will be for the gold service centres recovery facility.
The US$10 million was drawn from the US$956 million Special Drawing Rights received by the country from the IMF as part of the US$650 billion disbursed by the global financial institution to assist member States recover from the effects of Covid-19.
Prof Ncube said the mining sector was the country’s largest foreign currency earner and had the potential to contribute more and increase job creation and grow the economy.
“The gold facility has the potential to close the funding gap and spearhead increased productivity as well as finance bankable projects with a focus on value addition.
“Such strategic deployment of resources will ensure that Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 remains on course as we target a knowledge-driven and industrialising upper middle-income society by 2030,” Prof Ncube said.
He said Zimbabwe’s mineral exports grew from US$1,2 billion in 2020 to US$1,7 billion in 2021 and attributed the 42 percent increase in 2021 to improved gold production and firming global prices.
The US$5 million facility for the construction of six gold centres would improve value addition of the mineral.
A pilot project for the gold centres was launched in Bubi in 2018 and in 2019 Government announced that the centres would be rolled out across the country.
The gold service centres would have a positive impact to the economy through: gold mobilisation; plugging leaks; employment creation; improved mining and safety standards; safety health and environment issues; foreign exchange generation; and formalisation of the artisanal and small-scale miners.