PERMANENT Secretary of the Ministry of Mining and Mining, Mr. Munesuishe Munodawafa, has begged the mining sector to work for diversification programs to increase the number of mineral resources that the country's economy can benefit from.
Munodawafa made the remarks during the Kwekwe-mine exhibition and conference last Friday in the mining town.
In a speech read by the principal director of the ministry, Mr. Valentine Vhera, Mr. Munodawafa urged small miners to consider extraction of minerals other than gold and chromium.
"The small-scale mining sector in Zimbabwe is concentrated on gold, chrome and semiprecious stones and this calls for more diversification to increase the number of mineral raw materials that this sector can benefit from," Munodawafa said.
Small-scale miners, according to Mr Munodawafa, must form a consortium so that they can benefit from a fund reserved for the subsector.
"Sometimes it is difficult for the government to make money for a person who is mining in a particular mineral, other than gold or chrome, but if you come together as a syndicate, it will be easy," he said. .
Munodawafa said the prospectors benefited from the small-scale mining credit scheme used by the government to allow small-scale miners to benefit from the fact that chromium was also on the rise.
"Every time we talk about small-scale miners, everyone thinks of gold and so there's more attention for gold. The gold production figures from the small-scale sector show us that the gold development fund is indeed paying off," he said.
He said that chromium was just as important as a major foreign currency earner, just like gold.
"The production of chrome increased by 128 percent from 731,000 tons in 2016 to 160,000 tons in 2017. Some of the chromium is exported in its raw form as a stop-gap measure to provide more market opportunities for small-scale miners or in some cases like processed high-carbon ferrochrome, "he said.
He said that the government has committed itself to ensuring the growth of the small-scale mining sector through timely interventions.
The official of the Zimbabwean miners' federation, Mr Mukumba Nyenje, urged the government in the same function urgently to resolve mine disputes quickly.
"We face challenges mostly after our mines are stuck." Someone comes just armed with papers claiming that mine is his. "We need the government to look seriously at those issues that influence the confidence of small-scale miners," said Mr Nyenje.
The mine exhibition and conference brought together miners, suppliers and other stakeholders in the mining sector with the aim of stimulating the growth of the small-scale sector in the country.