The government of Zimbabwe has announced plans formalise artisanal mining. Mines minister Winston Chitando said the move aims to regulate the miner’s activities to curb illegal mining and plug leakages costing the country’s revenue.
“We want artisanal miners to be organised and mine in an orderly manner. We don’t want to see holes everywhere. You will be working with big companies like Metallon Gold. We don’t want revenue leakages, and we want to support our President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mining vision,” said Chitando.
Zimbabwe’s mining sector
To implement the formalization, the government will commission a gold centre at Jumbo Mine in Mazowe that will enable them collect revenue through the central bank to enable development of the economy through mining activities.
Zimbabwe’s mining sector has a significant role in the development of the country as it brings foreign currency, contributes to government revenue and provides for infrastructure development. Since 2009, the mining sector has become the fastest growing with both small-scale mining companies, artisanal miners and multinational companies taking part in the gold rush.
According to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, there are about 50,000 registered small-scale miners in the country who employ at least 10 workers each on average. But, with the economy failing while the price of gold soared particularly in 2020, the ranks of artisanal miners have risen to around 1.5 million. This has resulted in more mining sites being opened legally and illegally in all gold rich areas in what makes the actual numbers hard to ascertain. As a result of illicit financial flows, Zimbabwe has been losing money through gold smuggling into neighbouring South Africa and nearby Dubai.