Zimbabwe eyes taking back unused mining licences to boost output

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Harare — Zimbabwe may confiscate unused mining licences from companies and liberalise gold trading as ways to boost output.

Large mines are “sitting on lots of unused claims,” the Southern African country’s chamber of mines said in a document outlining initiatives of the proposed command mining programme. Revisiting the Gold Trade Act “to allow for the ease of handling and transportation of gold to buying centres” and speeding up mine registration are among other recommendations.

Zimbabwe, whose economy has halved since 2000, is looking for ways to boost output growth to almost 10% in 2018, mainly through agriculture and manufacturing, and by giving more people access to banking services. The country, which has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after SA, is experiencing a liquidity crisis that has led to limits on daily cash withdrawals and resulted in public servants being paid late in April.

A $40m central bank fund will buy machinery for small-scale miners, while banks will be encouraged to accept gold-sale records and geological survey reports as collateral under command mining, the document showed.

Gold producers in Zimbabwe include RioZim, Metallon and Caledonia Mining.

Zimbabwe also mines chrome, coal, diamonds and nickel, among other minerals.

Bloomberg