GOLD milling firms should deposit their gold with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s Fidelity Printers or risk being shut down, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa has said.
Chidhakwa said the government was tightening screws on gold millers by sending monitoring teams to ensure they followed the directive to prevent illegal gold outflows.
“Can I take advantage of this august body to relay a message to those that are not delivering gold to Fidelity Refineries that we are ready,” Chidhakwa told MPs last week.
“We now have the resources to get to everybody and it does not matter who you are. If you are not sending gold to Fidelity Refineries, we will close your company. Let that message clearly get to every one of our milling plants.”
Chidhakwa was responding to a question by Harare South legislator Hubert Nyanhongo on what the ministry was doing to curb leakages and illegal smuggling of gold out of the country.
According to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), Zimbabwe is losing over $50 million worth of gold every month to smuggling activities.
Miners argue that prices offered by Fidelity Printers are not competitive, hence the temptation to smuggle gold outside the country where the prices are lucrative.
Chidhakwa said that should not be the case and the government would not hesitate to crack the whip on gold millers not delivering to Fidelity Printers.
“What has happened now is that all the milling plants have been registered and all of them are now required to send their gold to Fidelity Refineries,” he said.
“We know that some of them will not do that and so a team is going to start this week, going out to each milling plant. We have created a portfolio-based system where we have a team of government officials from Fidelity, the RBZ, Mines and Mining Development ministry, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the police. They will be allocated a certain number of milling plants to look after.
“Their job is to visit those milling plants and ensure that systems are in place, the gold is being delivered to Fidelity Refineries and they will do so at least once every month. It means that if we are able to harness the milling plants, those who are producing or mining ore must bring it to the milling plants and this is why it is critical for us to get it at the milling plant level.”