All artisanal miners will soon be required to be registered as part of efforts by Government to formalise their operations, curb illegal gold dealing and protect the environment, Reserve Bank of Zimbawbe Governor Dr John Mangudya told the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism.
It is estimated that there are between 500 000 and 1,5 million artisanal and small-scale miners, including farmers who do a little gold panning in the off season, and only 16 percent are registered.
Dr Mangudya said a statutory instrument on the requirements for registration was being crafted and would be gazetted soon.
“We want to register for the sake of traceability and knowing who you are and where you are from,” Dr Mangudya said.
Under the envisaged registration system, the miners’ biometric details would be captured and the miner would be issued with a registration number.
Registered miners would also undergo training on environmentally friendly mining methods and land reclamation.
In 2020 gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners declined by 31 percent to 19,052 tonnes due to many reasons including smuggling and less production by miners.
In 2019 Fidelity took delivery of 27,66 tonnes, and that was a fall from the 33,2 tonnes delivered in 2018.
According to Fidelity, the small-scale and artisanal mining sector, which had in recent years been producing the bulk of the gold, last year delivered 9,347 tonnes compared to 9,738 tonnes by the primary producers.
In 2019, small-scale miners delivered 17,478 tonnes while large mining houses produced 10,181 tonnes.
Zimbabwe earns much of its foreign currency from mining, with gold being one of the major contributors.
However, the sector is facing a myriad of challenges including delays in payment for deliveries, power cuts, and smuggling with South Africa and the United Arab Emirates the main destinations.
Authorities estimate that between 30 and 35 tonnes of gold are being smuggled each year.
Under the Government’s US$12 billion mining industry roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion a year by 2023.