By Lucy Tandi
Valued at approximately US$65 trillion
Despite possessing an estimated 13 million tonnes of gold reserves (one of the largest in the world), Zimbabwe is still ranked as one of the poorest countries on the globe.
Economic analyst, Vince Musewe came up with the Rapid Gold Extraction (RAGE) concept to promote ramping up gold production to help Zimbabwe build a sustainable economy with a strong currency, backed by gold reserves.
“We are officially declaring a mere 30 tonnes per annum, while most of the gold is smuggled. Our current total production is over 100 tonnes per annum but that is still too small,”
“RAGE says let us have a target of 500 tonnes per annum in 5 years and the export earnings will more than meet our needs. We can then build our gold reserves to even back our local currency,” said Musewe.
What must be done?
1. Zimbabwe must first have an exploration exercise to determine the extent of the reserves. There are new technologies that can be used in exploration.
2. Revive old mines and establish new ones.
3. Be innovative in attracting investors to the mining sector through free trade of gold and removing the Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) monopoly, tax breaks and incentives.
4. Pay miners full proceeds in foreign currency at market prices.
5. We must stop exporting raw gold through the Rand Refinery in South Africa, but value-add and refine it locally to create employment and infrastructure development.
6. Aggressively establish a jewellery sector for Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
7. Auction some of the reserves to raise its own capital.
Musewe, however, said the major bottleneck facing Zimbabwe is lack of vision and focus in the extractives sector.
“Our only problem is lack of vision around each mineral and an implementation plan that is measurable,” he said.
By Lucy Tandi