by Fadzai L. Midzi-Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
Zimbabwe has put all its hope for economic recovery in its vast mineral
wealth which is expected to translate into development and turn the country
into a middle-income economy as enshrined in the vision 2030. This saw the President announcing a USD$12
billion mining strategy which has laid clear the targeted key strategic
minerals that include gold which is expected to contribute $4 Billion in annual
exports. If utilised well the gold reserves present an opportunity for the government
to finance development particularly the public health development and other
critical sectors given the current context. With international gold prices
continuing to rise, whilst countries which are dependent on resources such as
oil are struggling. Zimbabwe
is endowed with vast gold deposits giving the country an opportunity to act
expeditiously in enacting bankable legal instruments that will see transparent
and profitable extraction and sales procedures across all levels.
Gold has become one of Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earners,
having accounted for US$1,3 billion in annual forex receipts in 2019,
translating close to a third of total export earnings.
The USD$12 Billion strategy has been affected by the global coronavirus which
has since seen governments changing their priorities and putting all their
efforts into trying to contain the pandemic. There are several measures taken
by the Zimbabwean Government to fight the economic downturn caused by the
pandemic which has seen the mining sector being exempted and given the go ahead
to operate during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.
It is commendable to note that the government has been trying to put in
place measures that can maximise the country’s benefit from its gold deposits.
The government through FPR which is the sole end-buyer of gold determines a
pricing framework for the trading of gold in the country. The recent gold
pricing review is the second one in 2020 with the initial one done on the 26th
of May 2020 . The move was welcomed but recommendations for
improvement were made by the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and Zimbabwe
Environmental Law Association through its analysis of the gold buying framework.
Constant dialogue needs to continue as
this opportunity might be lost if gold leakages continue. The country’s banks
have been very volatile with Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Miners (ASGM)
preferring to keep their savings in gold rather than selling it for cash which is
not guaranteed. It is critical for ASGM voices to be heard.
The Strengthen Transparency and
Accountability in Natural Resource Governance (STA-NRG) consortia have been
convening policy dialogues on critical issues affecting the extractives sector
both at national and district levels. These have been done through the use of
various online platforms and live radio program discussions targeting artisanal
and small-scale miners. In light of the
prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure a sustainable and resilient ASGM, the
STA-NRG Consortium led by Pact and ZELA
are organising a zoom meeting on the 4th of August 2020 from
0930-1130am to discuss the effect of the new gold pricing policy pronounced by
the Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) on the 17th of July 2020.
Be sure to be part of this meeting by joining here.