Minex, organisers of countrywide exhibitions for small scale miners have dismissed reports that gold deliveries are under threat as the machete-wielding gangs are targeting both the miners and registered gold buyers.
This comes after Zimbabwe’s gold deliveries dropped 16,8 percent in 2019 due to a number of reasons including smuggling of the mineral.
Preliminary figures from Fidelity Printers and Refiners — the country’s sole buyer of gold and silver, show that deliveries declined to 27,6 tonnes from 33,2 tonnes a year earlier, earning the country US$1,3 billion.
Speaking to Great Dyke News 24, Minex Chairman Munyaradzi Hwengwere said the sector is facing a myriad of challenges including the prevailing foreign currency shortages that have also hobbled imports of spare parts and consumables.
” People have tried to attribute Mashurugwis to the decline and l really don’t understand how the element comes through.
” Whilst it’s a bad criminal element that has gone into the gold sector, what must be understood is that, when people have their product, what they are looking for is value.
” Unless the value side is dealt with, what you find is an increase of gold going through other cycles.
” So let’s not divert from the real issue here, conversations must be held to say what do we need to do,” he said.
“It primarily has to do with three main issues, the critical one is the feeling among the small scale miners that they are getting a raw deal in terms of pricing for their gold.
“The second one has to do with some of the distortions on the cost side, caused by challenges with accessing fuel which affects the production
“Procurement of chemicals, spares among others have also been affected by the issue of foreign currency rates but l think the main reason has to do with pricing issues that have not been addressed,” said Hwengwere.
He added that the country has seen a significant amount of gold being sold through informal channels to illegal buyers who then smuggle the mineral outside the country.
“Whilst the government is concerned that by increasing the portion of the US dollar that goes to miners, it will undermine some of the obligations to the country.
“That argument has not gone down well with the artisanal miners who feel that they are facing high costs in terms of their equipment and chemicals.
“Essentially, a lot of gold is now finding its way in the parallel market hence most of the gold is not going to the formal market,” he said.