YMF holds first ever young miners field day
By Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi
In a bid to promote formalization of artisanal and small scale mining in Zimbabwe’s mining value chain, the Young Miners Foundation (YMF) hosted its first ever young miners field day at Ulinda Granger mine in the Bubi District of Matebeleland North Province.
The young miners field day, which was held under the theme, ‘Young miners leaving no one and no place behind towards a sustainable US$ 12 billion mining economy,’ was organized by YMF in partnership with the Zimbabwe Miners Federation youth in mining. It was held this May.
Worth noting is the fact that most young miners in Zimbabwe constitute a significant population in Zimbabwe’s small scale mining sector.
In 2019, trade unions in Africa called for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) formalization as a way of transforming the sector, improving safety, decriminalizing mining and opening the door to opportunities provided by the ASM sector. In Zimbabwe, the ministry of Mines and Mining Development is on record calling for the formalization of the ASM sector to curb the illegal exports of precious minerals.
The young miners field day came amid realization that the ASM sector surpassed large scale gold producers in terms of deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners in 2021. They delivered 18.5 tonnes of gold while large scale gold producers delivered 11.2 tonnes.
Addressing stakeholders in the mining value chain at Ulinda Granger Mine during the event, the Minister of State and Devolution for Matebeleland North Province Honorable Richard Moyo applauded the mine’s owner Marino Arimando for operating a small scale enterprise formally and professionally.
“Ulinda Granger Mine is a mechanized small scale gold mine with close to 100 formally employed workers and has been religiously selling its output to Fidelity Gold Refineries (FGR) evidenced by their production records and receipts,” Moyo said. “This is therefore, a benchmark for other upcoming and aspiring young miners to emulate and follow in order for the nation to attain the US$12 billion mining economy which resonates to our Vision of a prosperous and empowered upper middle income economy by 2030.”
Minister Moyo called on mining players to support young mining ventures to promote the upscaling of their mining projects into medium scale.
“I wish to implore you all here present to keep supporting our youths in every way necessary especially for their ease of doing mining business; it remains our responsibility therefore, as government, quasi –government departments, private sector and local organizations to assist them on productive mining activities in Matebeleland North.
Speaking to the Mining Vision Magazine on the sidelines of the young miners field day, YMF Chief Executive Officer Payne Farai Kupfuwa underscored the importance of the inaugural young miners field day in encouraging youngsters to formalize their operations.
“We chose to host the field day at Ulinda Granger Mine since the structure and operations of the mine sets pace on how small scale mining initiatives can be conducted in a professional manner in line with one of our goal of formalizing the ASM sector”
Zimbabwe Miners Federation Matebeleland North Youth Secretary Nkululeko Ngwenya who was the co-organiser of the event told this publication that mining field days are critical in inspiring and encouraging young miners to contribute towards a 12 billion mining economy. He implored young people to attain mining related education in order to boost productivity at their mines.
“Miners should prioritize acquiring mining related education so that they have knowledge of all the daily operations within their mines,” Ngwenya said. “Taking workers to mining schools to attain a blasting license, knowing basic fundamentals of mining, taking safety and health more seriously to limit accidents and developing mines will increase production and will ultimately result in more gold production outputs.”