ZMF pushes for 100pc forex payment
THE Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) is engaging the Government to consider wholly paying miners in foreign currency for the gold delivered at Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) so as to enhance production as well as avert leakages of the mineral.
Addressing custom millers and small-scale miners at a meeting in Bulawayo last Friday, ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya said there was a need for the Government to consider paying small-scale miners 100 percent in foreign currency for the gold delivered at the country’s sole gold buyer and exporter to curb illegal marketing of the yellow metal.
“We have actually engaged Fidelity and we still await their feedback as far as our request is concerned. Our request was purely based on the understanding that there is a lot of gold leakage, which could be not out of our own sectors’ making but which is currently caused by the economic situation in the country,” she said.
FPR is licensed to buy gold from large-scale producers, small-scale producers and holders of gold buying permits. Currently the company is paying small-scale miners 70 percent of the total that is due in United States dollars and 30 percent in bond notes as a bank transfer. Prior to this arrangement reached last year, smallscale miners used to receive 100 percent cash (US dollars) upon delivery of the metal to FPR. Ms Rushwaya said failure to incentivise gold miners would fuel smuggling of gold from Zimbabwe to countries like South Africa citing that the country was losing about 70 percent of the mineral through illicit trading.
“We are saying to Fidelity, can you kindly redress the issue before it gets too late and at the moment we have started encountering nose diving production, it becomes a cause for concern, not necessarily for the industry itself but for the nation at large. This will affect the purchasing of fuel, drugs, in actual fact it will affect the purchasing of all the requisite priority areas that the Government had started looking into especially given the background that there is foreign currency shortages in the country,” she said.
Ms Rushwaya said ZMF was also concerned about the closure of numerous gold milling centres throughout the country.
The ministry is cracking down on milling centres suspected of underhand dealings ranging from production under declarations and wanton disregard of basic tenets of safety.
“Today’s meeting was specifically to meet with custom millers in this (Matabeleland) region in an effort to see if we can strike a balance with the Government pertaining to challenges befalling the industry notably those of closure of their centres whether knowingly or unknowingly . . . The other issue was the issue to do with the mushrooming of hammer mills and that has negatively affected their (custom millers) operations. Hammer mill operators are not declaring their profits to Fidelity and under such circumstances the custom millers are short changed considering that they are licensed,” said Ms Rushwaya.
A custom milling licence costs $5 000 per year.
Ms Henrietta Rushwaya