Zimbabwe stakeholders pledge to boost gold deliveries

BANKET, ZIMBABWE - MARCH 08: Children sifts through ore powder for gold particles in a river on March 8, 2021 in Banket, Zimbabwe. Illegal mining has increased in Zimbabwe over the last year, with the country's troubled economy made worse by the covid-19 pandemic. In addition to its environmental impact, artisanal mining also poses safety hazards to the miners. Last November, about 30 illegal miners were trapped underground and presumed dead after a disused mine shaft at Ran Mine, Bindura, collapsed. (Photo by Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images)

Stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s gold industry vowed to increase their deliveries of the commodity amid concerns over a decrease in production.

According to Scott Sakupwanya, the owner of Better Brands Jewellry, one of Zimbabwe’s leading gold agents, the country also needed to do more to stop leakages by corrupt dealers and smugglers which costs the country billions of dollars.

FILE PHOTO: Children sift through ore powder for gold particles in a river in Banket, Zimbabwe. /Getty Images

“If leakages are stopped, gold will easily meet our country’s foreign currency requirements. We want to tell gold sector players that we can all achieve greater heights without resorting to smuggling,” Sakupwanya said.

“We urge all gold players to make sure they deliver gold formally as this will help improve our foreign currency situation and, indeed, our economy.”

Sakupwanya further pointed out the industry’s desire to ensure fair trade to enable Zimbabwe to profit from its gold reserves.

Zimbabwe’s Mining minister Winston Chitando also underscored the importance of the National Gold Buyers Association of Zimbabwe (NGBAZ) in boosting Zimbabwe’s gold output in the long term.

“I am pleased that the organization has braced itself for this noble cause because leakages are threatening gold deliveries,” he said.

About $1.2 billion in gold is illegally exported from Zimbabwe annually, according to the government, and small-scale miners, who extract most of the precious metal in Zimbabwe, blame low prices and late payments by FPR for the leakages.

Gold accounts for most of Zimbabwe’s annual earnings in the mining sector in addition to being its largest foreign currency earner, and the government hopes to be able to extract 100 tons of the metal by 2023.

Small-scale miners have been identified as being key to achieving that goal given that they have accounted for about 60 percent of annual gold deliveries to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR).

The FPR is the sole buyer, refiner and exporter of gold in Zimbabwe.