Govt sweats over gold leakages

HARARE - Government has lamented the continued gold and other minerals’ leakage which is has seen deteriorating revenues that have severely affected revenue inflows for the fiscus.

Addressing small-scale miners in Kwekwe recently Mines ministry permanent secretary Munesu Munodawafa said government has intensified plans to put in place measures to plug the leakages as it seeks to top 30 tonnes of this year.

Munodawafa said flaws within the system have cost the country in terms of potential revenue as much of the precious mineral produced locally is spirited away to external markets.

“The gold sub-sector has great potential considering the amount of gold which is unaccounted for and goes into the illegal market,” Munodawafa said.

He also claimed that were it not for the leakages that have seen the mushrooming of a parallel market in gold and other minerals government gold output could have earned the country more than the nearly $1 billion dollars last year.

“If all players in the subsector become responsible and patriotic citizens delivering all gold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries, I can assure you that this country will not remain the same,” he said.

According to the Mines ministry’s figures gold is the major foreign currency earner in the country, contributing $977 million in 2017 albeit with small-scale miners surpassing primary producers of gold.

“Production of the small-scale miners, especially gold, has been rising significantly since 2014, increasing from 3 727 kg to a whopping 13 176 kg in 2017. Definitely with such performance, small scale miners cannot be ignored.”

Government is currently working on availing foreign currency to the mining sector to persuade small-scale miners to market gold through the Fidelity Printers and Refiners.

This comes amid reports that small-scale miners are selling their gold on the black market since the Government announced that 30 percent of gold delivery payments were now done through bank transfers.

New Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya, however, said emphasis should not only be on gold but other minerals as well.

“I know gold is considered as more important as it contributes more to the country’s GDP but we should give equal importance to some of the minerals we have in the country. I was shocked to learn that we have more than 30 minerals in the country,” Rushwaya said urging women and youths to take up mining.

“I urge all women and youths to take up mining as it contributes a huge chunk to the country’s GDP,” she said.

Rushwaya said her leadership will fight hard to curb disputes in mining claims, saying efforts are already in place to engage government in resolving the disputes.

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