Senator Tichinani Mavetera was not happy with the leakages but not just of gold.
“I just want to thank the Minister for his presentation and also for identifying that there is a lot of leakage on the minerals especially gold but from the presentation of the Minister, it did not come out clearly whether there are any strategies to minimise leakages on other minerals,” he said.
“This is because he seems to have concentrated on gold. For example, what I see right now is, if you go to the countryside, there is a lot of earthmoving happening. Sometimes you find out of raw minerals, the ore on its own is being exported.
“I do not know what the Government strategy and policy is and how far we have reached in terms of beneficiation and value addition because we are losing. I do not think the Chinese are stupid when they can actually take the whole lot of raw chrome, put it on ship and take it to China.
“It is not the chrome but there are a lot of base metals where some are important for aircraft, which we actually cannot identify. We have been talking about this for quite a long time. By now, if we were really serious, there are certain strategic minerals in the country where whoever should or has got an appetite for investing in that strategic area has to first of all put a smelting or processing plant.
“At the end of the day, I do not think we are getting much with the lot of mining happening. We are a small nation with a small population and we can actually survive just on minerals. We do not even know how the diamonds are doing.”
Ncube said the government was using a variety of strategies to deal with leakages.
“Last year we launched Operation chikorokoza ngachipere – that was one initiative. We also launched Operation rubber shoe, again to deal with these leakages and then we also have a Gold Mobilisation Unit which is multi-departmental ministerial, but largely driven by the Central Bank that is another unit. We have also increased security around our borders so you will find most of our interventions are mainly security oriented, which is a security issue in the main,” Ncube said.
“We now overlay a pricing issue which is that we have changed the retention ratio from 55:45 to 70:30 and that has resulted in an improvement in the gold deliveries at Fidelity. I suspect those who were smuggling gold find it harder to do so with COVID-19, there was no easy movement at the borders; it was not easy to penetrate during the COVID-19 era. There is an upside to COVID – after all on a lighter note but we are doing everything to deal with this gold issue. The one which was the retention issue has been dealt with by the Central Bank.”