As Minex Mberengwa set for 31st of October draws closer Great Dyke News 24 managed to track the anonymous Zvishavane miner to share his tips on running a successful mining operation.
1. Forget the tales about instant riches.
Chances are that when you get into mining it will take time before you become rich. Be patient and persistent in your goal.
2. Like any business, mining requires planning.
The trouble with small scale mining, in particular, is that the pursuit is now linked to so many myths and superstitious beliefs.
The temptation thus is to rely on witchdoctors, dreams, and prophets than a purposeful and directed inquiry into what it is that will take the business from one state to the other. Most of the small scale miners venture into the area without a plan all in the hope that one day their dreams will come to fruition. Resist this temptation, write down your mining plan.
3. Review your plan periodically.
It is one thing to have a plan and yet a totally different thing to have it operationalised and used as a source of reference in the business.
How many tonnes of Gold Or chrome does the plan say? What is the presumed capacity? Who is responsible for what? What has since happened How do you rectify the anomalies?
Without doing this you are likely to remain on the very spot you began which will not only rob you of your money but seriously dent your confidence in the business
4. Invest in Knowledge.
Imagine a banker who does not understand finance or medical doctor who has no clue of anatomy and related human biological makeup. Would you go to such a banker or medical doctor?. Certainly not, if you are normal. It is the same thing with mining.
It is an area of occupation where entities or individuals make money from the effective extraction of mineral resources from the ground. Knowing how that can best be done is thus critical.
In small scale mining, we are constrained because we generally lack the means to compensate for skill and thus we resort to utilising untested personnel. The result is that we fail. If you are serious, find a way to work with those who are knowledgeable.
5. Have some capital.
As my journey would attest, mining requires money for claim registration, blasting, equipment and so many things involved in it. Unfortunately not only is Zimbabwe facing serious capital constraints but even in the instances where capital is available, there are stringent mechanisms for accessing it.
What this does is that the average miner self finances their venture. This is not only a frustrating exercise which may lead to a short term focus but the funding may be inadequate to meet the needs of the specific mining concern. In my experience, if you decide to self-finance you must seriously consider the milestones your funding must attain.
6. Know your resource.
Because mining is all about resource extraction it is only fair for your starting point to be understanding the quantity and quality of the ore resource. I have come to know that while this may sound simple on the surface it is actually a complicated exercise. Finding a reef seems fairly straight forward.
There are also many labs that have sprouted across the country that will testify as to the sample with a particular reef. However, I have come to know that rock formation varies over depth and distance. AS such simply because one point had a high grade does not mean the next is like that. Ideally, therefore, find your samples in more than just one area. In large scale mining, such exercise is sacrosanct.
8. Be aware of mining laws and regulations.
Mining is a highly regulated industry. Everything from prospecting, registration of a claim, mining, all the way to the sale of your commodity has some law to it. Sure some it becomes a little too much to follow and certainly seems there is a need for Government to simplify this business especially for the small scale mining sector.
Until that is done, it is prudent and a requirement to fully understand the does and don’ts of mining. There are people employed to close down mining ventures and to give hefty fines. Worse still you do not want to have blood on your hands because someone dies on your claim. While some rules are cumbersome many are meant to ensure that mining is done safely
9. Have trustworthy and skilled personnel.
Mining especially Gold and to some extent chrome somehow attracts people with a propensity to share returns with the owner. Ores can be stolen by the person whom you have entrusted to run your mine. Excuses can be found as to why production targets are not being met. Your explosives may be sold to the next miner. Watch out for all these hazards and take active steps to curtail them and certainly to know of their existence.
10. Avoid comparing.
So what if your neighbor is attaining 1 kg every two weeks and you still struggle to reach 10 grams. Certainly nothing wrong in learning from the best. But your mine is your mine and theirs is theirs. Seek to understand your operations intimately. What is the potential output from your mine? How well are you doing there? What can you do better?
This should occupy most of your mind rather than stressing over someone else’s success or even celebrating their failure. Remember you could be worse off today and prosperous tomorrow. You could also be prosperous today and worse off tomorrow. Mining is about what you do and not what the next person does.