By Staff Writer
SMALL scale miners, bit hard by the new base metals export blanket ban announced recently, are seeking a six-month moratorium to fulfill existing supply arrangements with international buyers.
In a letter to the President which was copied to the minister of mines this week, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya said the unexpected Statutory Instrument 5 of 2023 – Base Minerals Export Control (Unbeneficiated Base Mineral Ores), in particular, the export of raw lithium ore, has hamstrung miners.
ZMF largely represents artisanal miners, small-scale miners as well as medium-scale mining ventures.
“We humbly seek your indulgence in the granting of a 6-month moratorium on Statutory Instrument 5 of 2023. The unexpected ban has prejudiced standing off-take agreements between miners and international buyers, some of whom had taken loans from their respective countries to finance trade in these minerals.
“Some miners have found themselves stuck with huge stockpiles thus locking cash flows and affecting operations,” said Rushwaya.
The ZMF president said the temporary moratorium will unlock foreign currency earnings to boost market liquidity and expand the Government’s revenue base through royalty fee payments and associated taxes.
“The establishment of processing plants takes between 6 months to 12 months to commission. The current market for lithium is outside Zimbabwe and companies need to export the mineral to raise capital to build the plants.
“Livelihoods of small-scale miners involved in mining base minerals have been negatively impacted by the ban since the trading of the minerals was halted,” she added.
According to Rushwaya, the mining of base minerals remains crucial for Zimbabwe and contributes significantly to the fiscus and as such, ZMF, as an institution, still upholds and fully supports the value addition of these minerals.
Last year, the mining sector contributed over US$7 billion to the economy as the country chased its US$12 billion mining economy target by this year. The mining economy growth plan is part of the broader macroeconomic roadmap toward an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
The multi-billion-dollar industry will be driven by gold, platinum, diamond, chrome, iron ore, coal, lithium, and other minerals – HARARE