The government has threatened to shut errant gold mines down and cancel mining licences for miners caught smuggling gold into the black market.
Mines deputy minister Freddy Moyo last Friday said the move was aimed at plugging leakages of mineral resources.
“I think we will have to get tough and be difficult on those caught smuggling our gold out of the country through selling it on the black market. We will have to withdraw their licences and shut them down,” he said.
“However, I don’t want to jump the gun, let’s wait for the report first then we act after we have information.”
Last year, the country produced 13 tonnes of gold, but most of it was reportedly sold on the black market.
Moyo said the Mines ministry had deployed five surveillance teams in the Midlands province to monitor compliance by all registered gold miners.
He said teams which were made up of police, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and officials from the ministry would check the number of employees at each mine, the expenses at the mine and then match the details with the income based on gold sold to Fidelity Printers.
“If those things do not match then we would go further to see how that mine is supporting its operations,” Moyo said.
He said the exercise would assist the government in apportioning mining equipment, which would be acquired on loan from China.
“If that equipment comes then production is going to increase and if we have not plugged the leakages then we will not be able to repay the loan, which has been guaranteed by the ministry of Finance,” the deputy minister said.
Moyo said he was happy South Africa was now scrapping its value added tax (VAT) rebate on gold.
“The scrapping of that VAT will help us because most of our gold, which was being smuggled out of the country, was sold in that manner,” he said.