THE Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) has started rolling out training programmes for youths artisanal and small-scale miners as a way of formalising them and curbing smuggling of the precious mineral out of the country.
The training programmes are also meant to boost their production capacity and compliment the country’s target to turn the mining sector into a US$12 billion industry by 2030. In an interview at the official launch of the training programme at the Zimbabwe School of Mines (ZSM) in Bulawayo on Tuesday, MMCZ general manager Mr Tongai Muzenda said prior to engagements they had with the Young Miners Foundation, the training programmes were being rolled out to curb minerals leakages.
“With the Young Miners Foundation (YMF) we agreed that we train the youths by chapters in the 10 provinces around the country. We have started here in Bulawayo and we will be going to other provinces for about six sessions like this one which we hope by doing this we curb leakages and increase value for the miners by having everything done above board,” said Mr Muzenda.
He said with the assistance of the ZSM, their parent Ministry, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and other players they intend to train as many artisanal, small and medium scale miners as possible, so that they become big miners in a formalized and legal manner.
“Unfortunately, many artisanal, small scale and medium scale miners seem to believe that going behind MMCZ or the legal route is beneficial or yields profits for them. Contrary to that it actually makes their life easier when it comes through the formal channels including MMCZ and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. It’s not about paying tax, its more about formalizing and getting proper markets and prices for their minerals which are they would have worked for very hard,” he said.
Mr Muzenda said for minerals such as gemstones mostly mined in Hurungwe, they were going out of this country illegally and MMCZ did not know which types were being exported through this route.
“The composition of our exports for gemstones is very low, hence millions of dollars are being lost though smuggling them and it’s not benefiting anyone at all expect the thieves. That is why we want to reduce the leakages as possible as much as possible,” he added.
Young Miners Foundation (YMF) chief executive officer Mr Payne Kupfuwa said they believed the future of their members was bright.
“This arrangement was an outcome of the Minerals Export Trade and Value Addition Seminar we had in Mutare sometime in March. As YMF we have partnered with MMCZ to train young miners in terms of basic mining entrepreneurship and other courses that have to do with more formalized mining enterprises,” said Mr Kupfuwa.
He emphasized the need for young miners to consider venturing into gemstones mining, stating that the semi-precious minerals were part of the country’s major economic game changer. Sunday News