SI 142: Small scale miners sceptical

By Vumani Mthiyane

Small scale miners have bemoaned the introduction of Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 which outlawed the multi-currency regime saying it might divert more gold deposits to the black market.

Currently, the sector has been contributing the bulk of the yellow metal to Fidelity Printers and Refiners – the country`s sole gold buyers – accounting for 65.5 percent of gold deliveries in 2018.

In an interview with CITE, Matabeleland South Small-Scale Miners Secretary, Philemon Mokuele said the policy is going to adversely affect them and gold deliveries to the official government channels are likely to decline.

“This move by government is going to affect us as miners considering that we buy our equipment outside the country using foreign currency. The fact that we are used to be paid in foreign currency; it is a bit harsh to just have an overnight change without bracing for it,” said Mokuele.

“It will be very difficult for miners to sell their product in Zimbabwean dollar because investors are not sure of its value against internationally recognized currencies.”

Asked about the mining equipment and other products used by the miners, Mokuele said they are likely to face shortages.

“It is twofold, the mining products are likely to disappear from the shelves, or they will simple close us out on those products that were priced in foreign currency. As miners we will face serious challenges in mining and processing our minerals.

“This alone is going to be a good catalyst for miners to engage in gold smuggling outside the country and sell a portion to the RBZ for them to be able to buy equipment needed from outside the country,” he said.

Contacted on the same issue, Gwanda United Small Scale Miners Secretary, Rido Mpofu said they were likely to be affected although he was yet to go through the new monetary policy.

“This is a huge blow to us as miners. But as for now I cannot go into detail because I am yet to go through the Statutory Instrument 142,” said Mpofu.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Chief Executive Officer, Wellington Takavarasha concurred with the local mining representatives although he could not give a conclusive comment.

“As a national board, it is too early for me to comment. We have since booked a meeting with the authorities this Thursday to map the way forward and hear what is store for us. Definitely, the meeting is going to address some of the questions the miners have,” said Takaravasha.

Zimbabwe is targeting gold deliveries of 35 tonnes this year after last year deliveries closed at 33,28 tonnes.

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