Govt unveils $20mln fund for small-scale gold miners in push for record output

Govt unveils $20mln fund for small-scale gold miners in push for record output

HARARE, September 15 (The Source) – The central bank says that it has secured $20 million to support production by small-scale miners, amid a push to reach 24 tonne output, close to the country’s historical peak.

Small scale miners’ gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers were 24 percent up to 3,98 tonnes as at 30 June 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. The sector produced nearly 40 percent of the total gold output for the first half of the year.

The central bank said a total of 10,7 tonnes of gold was produced in the first half and the sector is on course to top 24 tonnes, still below the peak output of 30.2 tonnes achieved in 1999.

Presenting his monetary policy statement on Thursday, central bank governor John Mangudya also proposed changes to the taxation and fee structure for small-scale miners.

He proposed to scrap a 2 percent Environmental Management Agency (EMA) fee.

“The fee for exploiting the environment at 2 percent of gross revenue is extremely high. Consideration should be made to scrap this fee in order to enhance gold production,” said Mangudya.

Mangudya also added that the Environment Impact Assessment fee at between 0.8 percent and 1.2 percent of total cost is a barrier to investment.

“Reducing this to a rate of 0.05 percent of the project cost, with a reasonable upper limit of US$50,000 would be in line with international best practice,” he added.

Mangudya said the custom milling fee, which was increased from $2,000 to the current $8,000 had driven hundreds of small-scale and artisanal miners underground, where they sell their gold to the black market.