Gold Producers’ Association chairman Ian Saunders has warned that at least 75% of the country’s gold mines will shut down in the next three months if the government does not re-look mining policies.
Speaking before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development yesterday, Saunders said gold mines were facing viability challenges.
“Our assessment is that within 90 days, 75% of the gold mines in this country will be shut unless the authority changes. In short the royalties are too high, the power costs are way too high and there are a number of other initiatives.
According to Statutory Instrument 11 of 2012, a gold-buying licence attracts $5 000 while a custom milling licence was pegged at $8 000
Saunders said what was critical was to establish how the recently-launched economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) related to the gold mining industry.
“Our understanding of the Zim Asset is the desire of government to move towards a more sophisticated value general enquiry.
“Our issue that we have with the creation of this strategy is that fundamental to this must be the understanding that Zimbabwe is the primary producer of minerals and we produce over 40 different minerals in the country,” he said.
“All effort must be to focus the growth and of the primary sector because beneficiation and value addition is a volume business. So for arguments’ sake today no one gold producer could build a refinery, hence Fidelity Printers.
“We believe that part of the growth of the economy and the formalisation of the small-scale informal sector, in particular gold is fundamental and government has obviously identified this and there is probably significant loss of revenue to government because the informal and small-scale mining sector is not captured.”