An unprecedented scramble for gold claims reminiscent of that for Marange diamonds fields in Manicaland Province in the 2008-9 has gripped Zimbabwe, with a sudden spike of interest overwhelming the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
The scramble for the precious stone has subsequently triggered massive corruption in the sector as the ministry ‘s top officials are taking advantage of the desperate miners.
Several top government officials have been implicated in lodge mining claims deals across the country.
They are accused of double allocating claims, resulting in nasty fights in mining areas across the country.
Potential miners have descended on Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Manicaland provinces.
There was also some gold discovery around Mutare District which has triggered an unprecedented rush.
“The sudden interest in gold claims has been triggered by the firming gold prices which were expected to slow down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But the gold price has been firm hence the interest,” Mines and Mining Development Permanent Secretary Onismo Moyo told Business Times.
“The issue of over-pegging remains a challenge but there is always verification done before issuing claims. I would want to confirm that we have been behind on verification due to the issue of resources but we are well resourced now.”
The issue of over-pegging and double allocation has triggered bloody disputes.
Mines officials are accused of being complicit in these disputes as they have continually issued certificates.
Recently an independent report initiated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission exposed multiple malpractices and corruption within the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development fuelled by a syndicate believed to be controlled by some top officials from the mines ministry.
The report pointed out that there was a syndicate of senior, middle and junior officers within the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development that has been fuelling corruption within the mining sector.
According to the report findings, mines ministry officials have been demanding bribes for the smooth transfer of mining certificates.
Amid socio-economic conditions facing the country, mining is the only remaining silver lining especially for desperate youths.
The sector underpins the country’s socio-economic growth prospects. Business Times