GOVERNMENT says mineral leakages are bleeding the country after it emerged that targeted deliveries to the Fidelity Gold Refinery (FGR) were on the decline.
Mines minister Zhemu Soda said the economy was losing massive potential revenues to the leakages.
“Mineral leakages deprive the government of much-needed revenue from taxes and royalties. These in turn create uncertainty and instability in the mining sector, which can discourage foreign investment. This can deprive the country of much-needed capital and expertise,” Soda said in his speech during the gold mobilisation deployment workshop in Harare on Monday.
“It is widely believed that there is rampant side marketing of gold to the illegal market. It deprives governments of tax revenue, undermines the legitimate gold mining and trading sector, and funds criminal activity.”
In comparison with last year’s gold deliveries, the mining sector recorded a 13,2% decrease between January and August this year after 19,335 tonnes of gold was delivered against a target of 40 tonnes by the end of the year.
“For 2023 from January to August, the gold deliveries to FGR sit at 19,335 tonnes against a target of 40 tonnes by the end of the year. In 2022 for the month of January to August a total of 22,29 tonnes was delivered, this represents a 13,2% decrease,” Soda said.
The minister said government enacted a quarterly gold mobilisation programme which seeks to plug mineral leakages.
“In the ministry’s strategic plan, one of the strategies highlighted to increase gold deliveries to FGR include the gold mobilisation programme. Gold mobilisation exercises by the ministry and its stakeholders are carried out on a quarterly basis.
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“As we continue to improve the manner in which we conduct the exercise, the teams should continue with the innovative way of inspecting plants at each stage of production across the whole value chain.
“It is also important to note that this time around teams will be required to collect records on all hammer mills and mobile gold processing units which have become rampant in the provinces.”
In August, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe expressed optimism that gold deliveries would reach the set target by the end of year whilst emphasising the need to plug leakages of the yellow metal.
Projected gold deliveries were set at 35 000 kgs and to date, FGR has received 15,972 kgs.
Government is pursuing an ambitious plan to transform the mining sector into a US$12 billion export industry by the end of this year.