MINES and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has hailed the formation of the National Gold Buyers Association (NGBA) saying it is key in achieving the 100-tonne target of the yellow metal by 2023.
Small-scale miners are expected to continue playing a significant role in shoring up national reserves through Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
The newly-formed organisation pledged to protect the country’s interests in the trading and beneficiation of gold.
“I am pleased that (the NGBA) has braced itself for this noble cause because leakages are threatening gold deliveries, so I welcome this as a big achievement,” Minister Chitando said on Thursday.
Interim NGBA chairman Mr Pedzai Scott Sakupwanya said their thrust was to ensure fair trade for Zimbabwe to benefit from its vast mineral resources.
“Our thrust is to ensure the country’s interests are protected in the trading of the yellow metal,” he said at an interface meeting with the Mines Minister.
Mr Sakupwanya said buyers knew each other well and it was important to have an organised industry where chaos and price distortions were eliminated.
In March, Mr Sakupwanya, owner of Better Brands Jewellery, was elected along Mr Johane Sithole and Mr Raj Skorous as caretaker leaders of the lobby group formed to champion the interests of gold traders as well as improve deliveries to Fidelity.
“I am honoured to have been elected founding NGBA chairman. My mandate is to help Government to raise bullion deliveries through solid and recognisable structures that can help in the monitoring and coordination of licensed players or agents’ activities as well as miners under ZMF’s umbrella,” he said.
“Crucially, this initiative was not only a vote of confidence in President Mnangagwa’s policies such as the US$12 billion mining sector-earnings vision, but a confirmation of our support for a self-regulated industry where indiscipline is not tolerated,” said Mr Sakupwanya.
He warned that smugglers and all sorts of errant traders were being warned to stop illegal activities forthwith.
While the country has been producing large quantities of gold every year, deliveries to Fidelity have been low because of smuggling and other illegal activities, prompting the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) to plead for a review of the country’s licensing regime and for such opportunities to be given to more deserving people.
“Some licences are in the wrong hands because their holders are abusing them by buying the precious mineral at a very low price and shipping it outside the country where it is sold at high prices,” said ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya.