SENIOR STAFF WRITER
MINES minister Winston Chitando says the government is working on curtailing rampant smuggling of gold out of the country by amending the Gold Trade Act.
This comes as Zimbabwe has been losing billions in foreign currency as some miners are teaming up with cartels that smuggle gold to places like Dubai and South Africa where they are paid more money than on the official local market.
Appearing before a virtual parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Mining Development meeting yesterday, Chitando told legislators that his ministry was waiting for the conclusion of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill to start amending the Act.
“The Gold Trade Act is due for amendments. As a ministry, we did not want to start amending the Gold Trade Act without first concluding the Mines and Mineral Act first. “Had it not been for that, the Gold Trading Act could have been amended by now due to the issues being raised by the honourable members here,” he said.
The Mines and Mining Development portfolio committee is chaired by Edmond Mkaratigwa. Chitando was responding to questions by Silobela legislator Mtokozisi Manoki Mpofu.
Treasury allocated $18,2 million for the finalisation of the Mines and Minerals Act, amendment of the Gold Trade Act and Precious Stones Trade Act, development of Minerals Development Policy and other mineral specific policies.
Last year, gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) were 19,05 tonnes as compared to 27,66 tonnes in 2019, representing a year-to-year decline of 31 percent. In value terms, gold exports declined by six percent from US$1,1 billion in 2019 to US$994,7 million in 2020.
The lower decline in value terms was due to higher gold prices realised in 2020 compared to 2019. Calls for the government to review the mineral and mining laws such as the Gold Trade Act to curb rampant smuggling in the
extractive sector have been on the increase of late.
This comes as the country’s three major mining laws – the Mines Minerals Act, Gold Trade Act and Precious Stones Act – have become extremely outdated.