Zimbabwe plans to register gold miners to curb smuggling

7th July 2021 By: Bloomberg

Zimbabwe is drafting legislation which will compel small-scale gold miners to register their operations as the southern African nation seeks to curb gold smuggling according to John Mangudya, central bank governor.

“Government is in the process of putting a statutory instrument for all the gold producers, just like what we do under tobacco where there is a grower’s number,” Mangudya told lawmakers in the capital, Harare at a virtual briefing on Monday. “We need to ensure that they do not take the gold out of the country.”

The government keeps a tally of tobacco growers registered with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board to regulate the industry.

Zimbabwe’s gold deliveries for the five months through May plunged 24% to 7,030 kilograms from a year earlier, according to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the country’s sole gold buyer. Authorities blame smuggling for the decrease in gold output.

More than $1.5-billion of gold is illegally shipped out of Zimbabwe every year, depriving the cash-strapped economy of crucial foreign-exchange revenues, according to research organization International Crisis Group. The country seeks to produce 30 tons this year after extracting 19.1 tons in 2020.