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Small-scale gold miners face tough times

GOLD production by small scale miners plummeted to two tonnes last year from 17 tonnes recorded nine years ago as exorbitant mining levies and punitive policies take its toll, an industry head has said.

Report by Musa Dube

The Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small Scale for Sustainable Mining Council (ZASMC) president, Wellington Takavarasha, bemoaned the declining production saying government policies were not promoting small scale mining.

“In 2004 small scale miners produced 60% of the 29 tonnes of gold produced that year.

“That means they produced 17 tonnes. In 2005 the small scale miners produced 50% of the 23 tonnes that was produced,” Takavarasha said.

He said the decline in production by small scale miners escalated when government launched a massive clampdown in 2009 in an operation code-named Chikorokoza Chapera that destabilised operations.

As a result of the operation, Takavarasha said, gold production by small scale miners declined to 365kgs.

The ZASMC president said in 2011 there was an improvement with gold output from small scale miners reaching 2,7 tonnes.

“However when the government increased the mining levies for small scale miners in 2012, production went down again to two tonnes,” said Takavarasha.

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