Miners are calling on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to assist them to address the challenges facing their sector saying it is likely that the sector will not achieve the 40-tonne target by 2023.
In an interview with Great Dyke News 24 on the sidelines of the recently held Minex expo held in Mberengwa, Zimbabwe Miners Federation Chairman Mukumba Nyenje said the sector saw a decline in mineral output across the board due to foreign currency retention ratios and power outages among other issues.
He added that the 55 percent forex export retention ratio poses viability challenges as it is not enough to cover production costs hence the slump in gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners as miners are now looking for other unofficial lucrative markets to sell their gold.
“Miners are not happy with the 55% foreign currency retention because at the end of the day they are failing to meet their costs like salaries whereby their employees demand bond notes and foreign currency.
“Also, miners require foreign currency to purchase explosives, equipment, and spares and all of these are imported from other countries.
“So the government should at least retain the 80% retention so that we have a win-win situation between Fidelity and the miners and as miners, we don’t need anything below 70 to 80 %,” he said.
He added that they are compiling a list of grievances being faced by miners so that they discuss them with the President who is expected to officiate at the inaugural ZMF AGM and exhibition.
“As miners, we are going to compile our grievances and submit them to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at our inaugural ZMF conference whereby he will be our guest of honor.
“Now chances are very slim that we can achieve our 40-tonne target by 2023 since we are lagging behind,” said Nyenje.
Speaking to Great Dyke News 24 on the sidelines of the recently held Mimosa Mining Company Long Service Awards held in Zvishavane, Chamber of Mines President Ms. Elizabeth Nerwande revealed that there a need to address the challenges facing the mining sector and the Chamber of Mines will continue advocating for optimum conditions that promote mining activities.
“We haven’t been getting adequate retention and what this does is that it reduces our capital flows and also now there are demands that we must pay certain taxes in US dollars, so the issue of retention is still a challenge,” she said.
“Secondly, power outages have been very significant and very disruptive to mining operations. On policy inconsistency, we have said we need a lot of consistency because this affects the issue of pricing and we buy things from a number of suppliers.
“We earn forex but sometimes when we are going to pay suppliers it’s on interbank rate and the person whom we are buying from is using the parallel market rate so we have to close the gap and that loss is quite significant,” she said.
However, she added that despite the challenges, mining industry prospects for 2020 are brighter, underpinned by on-going reforms being implemented by the Government in response to the sector’s challenges.
Mberengwa women in mining chairperson Ropafadzai Moyo told Great Dyke News 24 that, ” As miners, we are not happy with the forex retention, our employees and suppliers are refusing RTGS hence government should provide us with at list 70% foreign currency and 30% bond notes.”