Reserve Bank Governor speaks of critical transformation in the ASM Sector


09 July 2021

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya on the 5th of July 2021 gave oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism. The Governor highlighted that there has been a sharp increase in gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refineries from small scale miners in June as compared to May 2021. Deliveries for June stood at 1 798,8/kg compared to 783/kg in May. In his oral evidence, he stated that Government is working on passing into law a Statutory Instrument to facilitate registration of artisanal miners to curb illegal mining, promote formalisation and traceability of gold from artisanal and small-scale miners. According to him traceability will be done through capturing biometric data of miners and issuance of registration numbers for enhanced monitoring. 

During our regular and trademark Staff meetings where we religiously discuss the operating economic, political, environmental, and social context, this week saw Staff members discussing the implications of the RBZ Governor’s oral evidence. We are pleased to share with you our viewpoints.

Here is a summary of what ZELA Staff members had to say. 

  • “ZELA has been working with other CSOs in calling for the formalisation of the Artisanal and Small-scale mining (ASM) operations with the hope that this will enhance the ASM sector’s contribution to Economic recovery to achieve the $12-billion mining strategy roadmap and Vision 2030.”

 Most staff members acknowledged the importance of the development.

  • “This move gives relevance to ZELA’s work on responsible sourcing and mining, but it is not clear how this is going to be implemented. The other concern is whether some politicians will not take advantage of this process to finance elections or use it as a campaign strategy? There are other progressive initiatives that have been put in place such as the gold mobilisation programme whose results are yet to be clearly profiled.”
  • “Passage of a Statutory Instrument will be good if it results in creation of a special artisanal miners permit or Licence. This will form part of the formalisation process.”
  • “The proposed approach is positive, but it is not enough for RBZ to implement the formalisation process alone without the involvement of other critical stakeholders, including ASMers and the civil society. The process must adopt a multi-stakeholder approach.”
  • “We acknowledge this initiative by government to formalise ASM, this will be a good entry point to enhance the traceability of gold which has been very opaque and volatile with a lot of smuggling and illicit trade. Promoting responsible sourcing is vital.”
  •  “This is a good thing because ASM deliveries to Fidelity have at some point exceeded the large-scale miners deliveries and with such a move gold delivery to formal channels will be increased.”
  • “Very good move, happy to see Government slowly changing their line of thinking when it comes to ASM especially on issues to do with traceability and responsible sourcing.”
  • “Use of technologies such as block chain in the ASM sector and capturing of biometric data to enhance traceability is the way to go”. 
  •  “Levying ASM and registering them is good, worried though about how they will do it together with the Cadastre system which was going to weed out double allocation loopholes.
  •  “Government should also consider having comprehensive reforms by finalising the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill so that it caters for ASM.”
  •  “If implemented this may enable the government to tax the ASM sector and increase revenue mobilisation and consider re-joining the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).” 
  • Hope this is not political grandstanding by the Governor. What is needed now is to implement measures that will eliminate illegal trade, illicit financial flows, and corruption in the ASM sector. In the same vein Parliament should get a report from the RBZ after six months to assess progress on the Governor’s promises. This is how Parliament can hold him to account.”

Published by: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), 26B Seke Road, Hatfield, Harare; @ZELA_Infor, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

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