HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Mines Minister, Winston Chitando said on Tuesday the country’s robustly growing small scale mining sector will benefit from a Memorandum of Association (MoU) signed with Rwanda this week.

“We would like to cooperate and enhance the production of minerals in the two countries and our colleagues in Rwanda have very interesting experiences in the development of the small-scale mining sector, Chitando said after signing the MoU.

“We would like to share those experiences. In terms of the spirit of this MoU, we would like to see how the two countries can cooperate specifically in terms of sharing training facilities in the mining space. Secondly, we would like the two ministries, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in Zimbabwe and our sister ministry in Rwanda, to share expertise to capacitate the respective ministries and other institutions in the mining space to develop the potential which exist in the two countries,” he told delegates at the ceremony.

Zimbabwe, which has placed the mining sector at the heart of its ongoing recovery programmes, has been receiving significant revenue from small scale mining sector, especially in gold, where small scale miners bring in over half of the annual output.

Overall, the mining industry generates about $3 billion to the economy and employs about 30 000 workers in formal mines.

A further 500 000 are employed in the small-scale informal mining sector, according to statistics from the Zimbabwe Miners Federation.

However, Zimbabwe’s small-scale miners have been blamed for fuelling environmental degradation in the past few years, through the use of toxic chemicals during the mining processes.

The southern African country is likely to benefit from Rwanda’s experience in the small-scale mining subsector.

Poor environmental protection practices dents the industry’s efforts to access funding in a global financial system that has been increasingly demanding that borrowers show efforts towards mitigating climate change.