THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) wants to decriminalise the possession of gold to allow for free trade in the precious mineral with Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
In his Monetary Policy statement on Wednesday, central bank governor John Mangudya said focus should be on engaging artisanal miners on responsible gold trading in line with best practice.
“To this end, the Reserve Bank, in consultation with the relevant authorities, is currently working on a policy to
decriminalise the possession of gold in order to allow those in possession of gold to sell it to Fidelity Printers and Refiners,” Mangudya said.
The gold sector is dominated by small-scale miners and artisanal miners who contribute over 60% of the country’s gold output.
But most of the small-scale miners are not organised and have no access to official markets to sell the gold.
If the move is implemented, it would reduce gold smuggling while improving gold deliveries to the official market.
During the first half of this year, gold deliveries were 8 181kg and if the trend continues gold production for the
year would surpass 13 899kg to around 16 tonnes.
“The bank is making concerted efforts to facilitate gold production in the country through the arrangement of financing facilities which also include the mechanisation of small-scale producers’ operations.
“To date, $5 million has been disbursed for this purpose through Fidelity Printers and Refiners,” Mangudya said.
The central bank is also proposing the rationalisation of charges levied to producers,including rural district levies, mining licence, ground rental fees, Environmental Management Agency charges, Minerals Marketing Company of
Zimbabwe fees and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority fees.
Mangudya said there was need to align electricity tariffs for gold mining to those obtaining in other sectors like
the chrome, increase access to long-term funding for both small-scale and large-scale gold producers, and harnessing the potential of small-scale artisanal miners.
Costs for small-scale miners include milling licence fees which are between $1 000 and $8 000 with $4 000 for registration.
The country has an estimated 30 000 small-scale miners and 500 000 artisanal miners (panners).