GOVERNMENT will in August start disbursing the US$2 million grant acquired from the European Union (EU) for small-scale miners countrywide to enhance their operations to enable them make meaningful contribution to economic growth.
And Minister of Mines and Mineral Development permanent secretary Paul Chanda said Government is working on measures aimed at formalising the market for small-scale gold miners.
Mr Chanda said in an interview that the grant is part of Government’s initiatives to empower small-scale miners to increase their contribution towards national development.
“We are currently identifying small-scale miners and we will start giving them loans in the next two months. The US$2 million we got from the EU will enable small-scale miners improve their operations and contribute to national development,” he said.
Mr Chanda said most small-scale miners lack the right equipment and resources to develop and sustain their operations.
He said the ministry is also working on a project that will facilitate the growth of developmental minerals such as sand and stones which are used for building.
Mr Chanda has appealed to Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development to consider giving contracts for the supply of buildings materials for various construction projects to the local people.
And Mr Chanda said the ministry will ensure illegal gold miners are licensed and recognised to enhance revenue collection for Government.
He said currently, most small-scale gold miners sell their products to foreign smugglers at cheap prices, a situation that has resulted in the loss of revenue that Government could have used to implement various development projects.
Mr Chanda urged them to use the right channel to sell and get value for their products.
He said Government remains committed towards providing an enabling environment for small-scale miners.