Small-scale miners facing difficulties: Tweya
14 May 2019 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 14 MAY (NAMPA) Small-scale miners are finding it increasingly difficult to raise capital to fund new ventures despite positive high demand for several commodities and large cheap credit, Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Tjekero Tweya has said.
Tweya made these remarks in Windhoek on Monday when he launched the Namibia Mine Stones Project on Sustainable Jewellery Production and Geopark Brandberg Project.
He said small-scale miners, also known as artisanal miners, are not officially employed by mining companies, but they work independently by mining various minerals or panning for gold using their own resources. As such, small-scale miners are among the poorest socio-economic grouping in Namibia.
Our small-scale miners often lack appropriate equipment, access to finance and adequate on-site water supply. They also face huge challenges in getting access to a formal market, where they could sell their semi-precious stones, said Tweya.
He further noted that daily mining activities involve risking their lives on steep mountain slopes or inside narrow excavation sites, and to make matters worse, small scale-miners often sell their gemstones far below market value. However, they are driven to these extremes and desperate actions because they are frantically in need of income to make ends meet for themselves and to sustain their families.
As part of the solution, this new pilot project created a merger of breakthrough efforts of two sectors; tourism and small-scale mining - to create an exciting new joint venture that will offer other opportunities to diversify the income of small miners to improve their standard of living and formally structure the market, noted Tweya.