Zim in­for­mal gold min­ers ‘he­roes’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

Po­lice should not ar­rest Zim­babwe’s in­for­mal gold min­ers, ac­cord­ing to cen­tral bank gover­nor John Man­gudya. He says they are “he­roes” of the econ­omy.

Man­gudya said this after statistics showed that Zim­babwe was close to hit­ting its all-time record for gold pro­duc­tion and clocked in 23 tons last year.

In the 1990s, Zim­babwe pro­duced a record 27 tons, with most gold min­ers es­ti­mat­ing that the coun­try would never be able to pro­duce more than 30 tons a year.

Zim­babwe’s gold pro­duc­tion achieved earn­ings of about R13­bil­lion last year.

Man­gudya, speak­ing at the Gold Sec­tor Awards in Harare, said: “We need to come up with an ini­tia­tive where peo­ple with gold can be able to sell it. We don’t want po­lice to ar­rest peo­ple who are found in pos­ses­sion of gold in Zim­babwe on their way to sell it…”

Of­fi­cial gold pro­duc­ers sell their metal to the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe’s Fidelity Print­ers which re­fines it. For years, Fidelity paid less than in­for­mal min­ers could get for their gold by il­le­gally ex­port­ing it. Now they can earn al­most the same amount by sell­ing it legally.

Man­gudya said po­lice should only ar­rest those who were smug­gling gold out of Zim­babwe.

“We need to im­prove the ease of do­ing busi­ness in the gold sec­tor. If they (gold min­ers) are found car­ry­ing gold, they should be given a ticket, as we do to peo­ple who com­mit crimes at road­blocks. lf they are not able to pro­vide li­cences, they are given tick­ets.”

He said gold and to­bacco ac­counted for more than 60% of the coun­try’s ex­ports last year. “It is against this back­ground that we con­sider pro­duc­ers of gold and to­bacco as well as all the earn­ers of for­eign cur­rency as our he­roes,” Man­gudya said.

“Min­ing is the pil­lar of the econ­omy… with­out it there is no for­eign cur­rency.”

Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Wal­ter Chid­hakwa said he agreed with the cen­tral bank boss. “We are try­ing to change the law to say that you shall not be ar­rested as long as you take the short­est and di­rect route to Fidelity (Print­ers) with your gold,” he said. – Peta Thornycroft

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.