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Time govt acted on gold mining sector chaos

PARLIAMENT’S Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development has raised serious concerns over gold smuggling and the general chaotic state of Zimbabwe’s gold mining sector.

Committee chairperson Edmund Mkaratigwa was quoted as saying: “Sadly there are leakages and a weak legal framework, which is making it difficult for citizens to fully benefit from these minerals.

There has been proliferation of illegal mining sites, the setting up of unregistered hammer mills, unregistered gold buyers and many mining disputes.

There seems to be no solution in sight towards addressing all these challenges and there has been extensive damage to the environment due to these illegal mining operations.”

While this situation should get any government worth its salt to quickly act to stem the rot being alluded to by the country’s legislators, it is sadly unfortunate that many such pertinent concerns are hardly heeded, let alone entertained.

Evidence abound from way back in our history whereby the country’s minerals have been looted left, right and centre, leaving the southern African nation poorer each day. A perfect example that immediately springs to mind is the revelation by the late former President Robert Mugabe that US$15 billion worth of diamonds reportedly vanished from right under our nose between 2009 and 2016.

While the US$15 billion figure has been a source of heated debate, our main takeaway from that claim was that there was a serious leakage of the gems which cost Zimbabwe substantial revenue that could have done wonders to our ailing economy.

And as parliamentarians raise the red flag over the chaotic situation in the gold mining sector, it is imperative that government is alive to these issues. Dismissing the claims as far-fetched is to the detriment of our extremely troubled economy.

If the disorder in the gold mining sector, where gold barons are spiriting away tonnes of the yellow metal into personal coffers, is not nipped in the bud pronto it would be a serious abomination and betrayal of our nationhood.

It is actually dumbfounding that a government so desperate to shore up its battered economy through its abundant minerals, can afford to allow the proliferation of illegal mining sites, the setting up of unregistered hammer mills and unbridled operation of unregistered gold buyers at the country’s rich gold fields as the legislators have indicated.

Maybe, indeed, it is actually true that there is a breakdown in the rule of law in the country as many have alleged because surely if there was respect for the law, none of this tomfoolery would be happening at our gold fields.

Instead of deploying police officers on urban streets to harass poor vendors barely making ends meet, government should deploy them to the gold fields where they should ensure that all our gold is harvested for national benefit.

These minerals are finite and it would be a real shame that one day many generations to come would remember this generation for looting the country’s resource base dry. It is in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s best interest to leave a good legacy as far as our gold is concerned. As it is the gold legacy is not looking good. – (NewsReport)

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