Amos Kumwenda a founder and financial consultant of Money Konsul Private Limited , a consultant firm which specialises in coaching and training in personal financial management and independent retirement has said the Zimbabwean economy is currently in the hands of the Small Scale Miners contrary to naysayers that say otherwise.
Speaking in his capacity as an economic analyst Kumwenda who has been a banker for over two decades has regret that during his two decades as a banker, he would lend everyone else except the artisanal miners and small scale miners whom he says the banking world do not understand.
He said Small scale and artisanal miners in Zimbabwe are targeting to increase production in the gold sector which accounts for most of the mining sector’s annual earnings. Small and artisanal miners account for an average of 60 percent, since 2017, of the total annual gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR). Some gold buying agents have in the last two years, significantly increased deliveries to FPR.
Speaking on Classic 263 Radio recently, Kumwenda said the president has a 2023 vision to recieve a $12billion dollar economy, adding ”given that we are supposed to be the foot soldiers to run with the vision.”
Amos known in business circles as Sir AK for his profound intelligence and expert advice through his Money Consul added ”i think one of the greatest errors out there many messages about the artisanal’ they relate to the machete gangs, the gangs that we have you know its unfortunate the killing and its unfortunate thats the part which came out and so forth but there is a very good part that is there and you will be shocked that this economy is being held up by the artisanal small scale miners.”
Figures show that leading small scale miners as Amos Kumwenda and others delivered many tonnes of the precious metal to FPR in the past month alone.They are now targeting to sustain production and surpass the current levels for the country to benefit meaningfully from the precious mineral. Last month, FPR officials told Parliament that they were worried about the decreased gold deliveries citing a number of factors on the low productivity.
Economic commentators share the same concerns with FPR on decreased production but like small scall miners have pledged to ensure they boost gold deliveries. In line with President Mnangagwa’s vision of a middle income economy by 2030, one of the biggest resources Zimbabwe has is gold and needs to do all it can to amass as much gold as it can.
Kumwenda added that small-scale miners must be registered , recognised and given the same support other businesses get if Zimbabwe is to maintain its momentum from gold output and increase it to over-sustaining the economy after all it is in the small scale miners hands.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive Mr Wellington Takavarasha, recently said only 16 percent of small or artisanal miners were formerly registered. This scenario meant the Government was not deriving optimum benefits from the illegal activities of small and artisanal miners, as most were not registered and had no identity.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Mr Winston Chitando in an exclusive interview with this Technomag journalist said artisanal miners are key in the extraction of 100 tonnes of the precious mineral by 2023. He said small-scale producers remained an integral part of FPR’s long-term growth.
Kumwenda said ”I will give you some statistics. An artisanal miner is someone who doesn’t have a job in the context of how we have been trained but actually, they have a job.”
”When they are working they are working for themselves. They are their own bosses. It is believed when they grow they become small-scale miners. The difference between an artisanal miner and a small-scale miner is actually the tools that they use,” Amos said.
With government recently pledging further support for FPR in the form of enabling policies such as “fair pricing and increased retentions for miners to incentivise production”, and stem side-marketing, Mr Kumwenda also believes the current gold price rally can help Harare attain its medium-term goals.
As things stand, the precious mineral remains the country’s largest foreign currency earner — at nearly US$1,3 billion in 2018 – and while. On its own, the sector contributes 50 percent of Zimbabwe’s hard currency receipts.
Mr Kumwenda further explained this stating categorically, ”When you grow and probably you acquire one or two tools and start to be a little bit more mechanised you are now classified as a small scale miner. But They are grouped together. So looking at the artisanal and small-scale miners in the context of our economy these are the guys holding the economy as we speak.”