Call for coordination in gold rushes

The Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has called on state gold buying entity, Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR), to join hands with the miners’ representative body and capitalise on frequent gold rushes that have a potential to boost deliveries to the gold buyer.

The call was made by ZMF secretary general Morgan Mugawu, when he made a presentation at a meeting between the two parties that sought to foster a mutually beneficial relationship that could boost gold deliveries as well as see miners getting value for their deliveries.

Small scale miners, who fall under the ambit of ZMF are the country’s largest gold producers, accounting for the largest chunk of deliveries to FPR ahead of their better equipped counterparts in the primary production sector.

With Government expecting to build on last year’s record gold deliveries of 33, 2 tonnes to 40 tonnes this year and ultimately at least 100 tonnes per year by 2023, the small scale mining sector is now a strategic investment destination.

The sector, however, continues to be dogged by allegations of serious leakages that has a knock on effect on the economy particularly at a time some productive sectors of the economy are feeling the heat of inadequate foreign currency supplies for essential imports.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Mugawu said from time to time, Zimbabwe has gold rushes which result in small scale miners swarming gold deposits for rich gold nugget pickings.

Most of these “easy pickings,” he said, never find their way to the formal market (FPR) as there are no systems to curb illegal gold buying and subsequently smuggling.

“There was a gold rush recently in Kwekwe, Zhombe area, the kilogrammes of gold which were retrieved there, never found their way to Fidelity,” said Mr Mugawu.

“These gold rushes involve serious money whenever they happen, people will be literary picking gold nuggets. I am a witness to a 20kgs nugget that was picked in Shangani some three or four years back.

“Those nuggets will never reach Fidelity, so what we are saying is when there is a gold rush, let Fidelity and ZMF go on site and organise syndicates because one way or the other, these rushes will recur and its usually a two or three weeks thing. In that two or three weeks, up to 100kgs can be attained, so if we do our things in a coordinated manner, we can definitely pluck out something for the formal market and benefit the economy but if we aren’t organised, the economy will continue losing out,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, FPR general manager Fradreck Kunaka concurred and noted that there is need for better coordination between the buyer and the producer. Mr Kunaka said the meeting alone, is a sign that the parties are willing to engage.

“We need to come up with our strategy on how to move improve on our strategies. Kunaka. We (ZMF and FPR) need to be seen to be taking control of what is happening in the sector so that we can maximise on our collections,” he said.–

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