By Ndafadza Madanha
TASK Mining syndicate situated in the mining and farming town of Chegutu has set the standard for artisanal mining which their colleagues across the country can emulate.
Artisanal miners contribute over 50% of the country’s Gold export receipts making the sector a major source of the much needed foreign currency.
However, the artisanal mining remains poorly regulated and of late it has become a source of security concern owing to sprouting of machete wielding gangs that have caused havoc in the gold mining districts of Zimbabwe.
In the nine months Task mining Syndicate has operated it has demonstrated with ample support from authorities artisanal mining can be the backbone upon which the country achieves its US$12B mining sector target by 2023.
Task mining Syndicate is made up of 10 young Zimbabweans who thorough a tribute agreement with prominent businessman Mike Fowler managed to secure claims in Chegutu for their venture.
A tribute agreement is basically an agreement between a person who works a mine or a portion of a mine with the lessee claimholder or proprietor to pay to or receive from such titleholder a proportion or percentage of the produce of the mine or of the value of such produce.
In recognition of its exemplary work the ZANU PF Youth league under its empowerment programme facilitated the acquisition of a CIP plant to the syndicate to enhance operational efficiencies at the mine.
Task Syndicate chair Timothy Masviba said operations at the mine currently employ over 700 workers.
"Task mining Syndicate is owned by 10 people who have a passion for development. We shall soon be having the official ceremony for the opening of the mine as we are waiting for the remaining official papers to be processed by the relevant Government departments.
Currently we have 700 workers working on 49 shafts and since we started operations we have not had any fatalities or medical restrictions as safety is a major priority area for us".
Masviba said his team was determined to ensure that their operations remained above board hence their fixation with getting the necessary legal approvals.
"This is a legal mine and all our operations are legal we different from "makorokoza" who just mine but we are artisanal miners who follow the law to the letter. All the gold we mine we are selling to Fidelity in accordance with law".
He said the availing of the CIP by the ZANU PF Youth league was testimony to the good works of the syndicate which was working towards empowering youths through job creation.
“The Youth league has facilitated our acquisition of a CIP machine at zero deposit but which we shall pay for over time. Under this initiative the League will also distribute CIP machine to other districts in the country. Once we acquire the necessary documents to use the CIP we shall immediately deploy as the dump is already available”.
Turning to the menace poised by machete wielding gangs in gold mining districts in the country Masviba said the scourge had nothing to do with genuine artisanal miners but was the work of lazy common criminals.
“Machete gangs have very little to do with artisanal miners and our syndicate is very strict in its operations. In our area of operations we do not accept machetes and our workers are subject to body search when they enter. Generally these machete gangs are made up of lazy people who to areas where there is a gold rush”.
He said in order to attract more youths into the mining sector Government must offer incentives to them such as granting National Project Status to Syndicates like Task Mining.
“We have invested significantly into the project in terms ensuring we get electricity, setting up infrastructure and other things so our plea to Government is to support young entrepreneurs in the early stages of our operations by providing incentives”.