An association of approved mine peggers, geologists and engineers, the Young Miners for Economic Development (YMED), has unveiled plans to assist youths to contribute to the US$12 billion mining economy through free pegging and registration of claims to ensure communities get shares in mining activities in their localities.
Registration of companies for value addition and beneficiation will help secure capital from banks and other investors. This is in tandem with the Government's policy framework which seeks to grow exports from the secondary sector.
The youth empowerment lobby group said its ambitious plan resonated well the Government's ambition of leaving no one and no place behind and was in sync with plans to create an upper to middle income economy by 2030.
The small scale and artisanal mining sector contributes up to 12 percent of total exports with Treasury implementing strategies to attain growth for valued added exports.
The group said the future success of the mining industry lay firmly with investment in local communities.
Speaking to The Herald in Makaha, Mudzi District in Mashonaland East recently, YMED president Mr Nyasha Magadhi said the organisation had created opportunities for youths by introducing them to the mining industry.
The group would assist the youths by pegging and registering mining claims but they would have to raise capital for the fees to be paid to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
"We will be working with communities, identifying every district in the country by its opportunities. What we are saying in simple terms is we want to work with communities that have been neglected or at least have been crying foul over being excluded by mining companies.
"We are, therefore, in place to offer communities mining opportunities through pegging mining claims for them, offering training and looking for investors to work with. We also want to ensure that communities venture into value addition and beneficiation of the minerals.
"We are saying communities should benefit from the minerals found in their areas by directly owning the resources and not to wait for handouts from companies coming from abroad. We want communities to form mining companies and we will be assisting in that regard," said Mr Magadhi.
With the 2023 harmonised elections around the corner YMED will help Zanu PF to garner support by empowering youths who are in marginalised communities so that they become part of the US$12 billion mining economy.
"While it seems to be old rhetoric, it is true that the young people are the future. By empowering the youths, we will have created able leaders who will serve the people, not their stomachs.
"Our intention in empowering the youths is also based on the fact that we want them to vote based on facts and not emotions. We have realised that economic sanctions have greatly affected the youth in terms of getting formal employment.
"We want the young people to embrace the opportunities that are being created by President Mnangagwa and the Zanu PF-led Government.
"The youths should be on the forefront in benefiting and not to wait on the fence waiting for the right time to exploit our God given resources. We also want to conscientise the youths on the fact that no Government is more Pan-Africanist than Zanu PF which is presenting mining opportunities to the country's youths," said Mr Magadhi.
Another lobby group, the Miners for Economic Development said it was committed to working with Zanu PF and the Government to achieve vision 2030.
Speaking at its inaugural meeting this week, vice chairman Mr Edmund Kucherera said they would come up with campaign strategies for the party and the President to ensure a resounding election victory.
"This is our inaugural meeting as Miners for ED. As an organisation, we came up with our own roadmap towards 2023 harmonised elections. We have invited all our national executive members and provincial chairpersons so that we can brainstorm and make a way forward on how we are going to campaign," said Mr Kucherera.
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Mr Kucherera said they were selling the party's policies to small scale miners across the country and persuading them to access national identity cards and to register to vote in their operational zones.
"We are appealing to the relevant authorities to set up polling stations close to small scale miners so that they exercise their right to vote. We want to ensure they will not travel long distances to cast their votes," he said.
The association would also push for the establishment of gold buying centres across the country to avoid gold leaks as it had enough resources to mobilise members to support the initiative.
The call comes after Zanu PF has set some guidelines for all party affiliates to be accounted for.
Mr Kucherera warned some members against soliciting for loans or financial support from the party saying those caught would be dealt with accordingly.
"We made it very clear to the national political commissar Cde Mike Bimha that as an association, we will embark on resource mobilisation for the party. We have individuals who are biased towards ore milling and we have so many members who can contribute towards bringing votes for President Mnangagwa in 2023 elections.
"As Miners for ED, we are not going around soliciting for funds from the party. Instead, we have come out with strategies, where we have to get our own funds," said Mr Kucherera.
He also warned their members against name dropping saying it would bring the name of the party into disrepute
"We are guided by the office of the national Political Commissar. We have to inform them of any programme that we intend to do. As Miners for ED, we have realised that we need to do what we call peer-to-peer campaign.
"We are coming up with a roadmap for campaigns where we go down to the grassroots at mining sites. We are educating small scale miners to understand Zanu PF policies and Government programmes.
Cde Bimha has said organisations affiliated to Zanu PF must be guided by its values and ethos.
A number of organisations affiliated to Zanu PF have emerged and these include MED, Teachers for ED, Young Women for ED, Men BelievED, Vapositori for ED, Diaspora for ED, Soccer Legends for ED, Lawyers for ED, Varakashi for ED, Single Mothers for ED, Protocol for ED and Cross Border Traders for ED, among others.