Government to upgrade gold centres
Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
In a bid to streamline and support the activities of artisinal miners and stem potential revenue loss through illicit activities, Government is to improve the operations of the five gold service centres which are already operating.
Addressing the first post-cabinet briefing of the year yesterday, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet has considered and approved proposed measures to improve the effective operation of Gold Service Centres as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Professor Mthuli Ncube.
The Gold Service Centres are meant to ensure that artisanal miners operate legally and safely.
“The Gold Centres provide machinery and transport to the miners, while the artisanal miners on the other hand, are expected to provide sufficient feed stock to the Centres.
The artisanal miners are also expected to benefit through higher returns from the processing of the feed ore they supply to the Centres. The illegal artisanal mining activities are, however, causing a loss of human lives, land degradation, loss of potential revenue to the Government, and hence the need to safeguard the country’s finite resources through curtailing these actions,” said Minister Mutsvangwa,
Currently, there are five gold centres in operation.
One is in Matabeleland North, at Bubi.
There are two centres in Shamva and Mt Darwin, both in Mashonaland Central.
The other two are at Silobela in Midlands Province and Odzi in Manicaland Province.
Gold Service Centre are being established in other volatile environment areas with large numbers of illegal gold miners.
Minister Mutsvangwa warned high profile figures who are perpetuating illegal gold activities.
“Government takes great exception to some influential and Government officials who are also involved in illegal mining activities. These should desist from such activities forthwith. Government would take stern action against all those involved,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
In order to achieve achieve the intended objectives of the Gold Service Centres, the following measures were agreed on.
It was that the Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill be finalised as a matter of urgency and that the formalisation of all mining operations be expedited to enhance accountability and ease of monitoring by environmental management authorities.
It was also agreed that funding be provided including through Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for the operationalisation of Gold Service Centres as approved by Cabinet, with the participation of the private sector being vigorously pursued.
The other agreed measure was that mobile Gold Buying Centres be established starting with four immediately and that law enforcement measures be consolidated and that adequate resources be provided to conduct the necessary operations such as Operation Chikorokoza Ngachipere/Isitsheketsa Kasiphele/No to machete-wielding gangs.