The seizure of 23 pieces of Zimbabwe’s gold worth R11 million at O R International Airport that was being smuggled to Dubai reflect on the growing criminal practices in the gold mining industry in Zimbabwe. In our community, Illegal gold digging is ring fenced from accountability by people with political influence. They control illegal digging and smuggling syndicates in Chimanimani District. There is wanton digging of gold in Tarka forests, Chimanimani National Parks, Roscommon Estates, Nyabamba, Rusitu Valley, Haroni and Rusitu river confluence.
Illegal gold digging is also taking place in Springfield (Masiza) and Bullock areas. Political elites have manipulated mining authorities to award themselves with several gold claims in these areas. Gold mined in these areas is being sold on the black market and smuggled to international markets through Mozambique and South Africa. The reluctance by government to empower Fidelity Printers to control gold buying in our district is clear evidence that political elites are profiting from the black market through tax evasion and externalisation of forex.
There is no Fidelity gold buying post in these mining areas. At the same time Fidelity is aiding the black market to thrive by offering poor prices for the gold. Government has shown little interest in formalising artisanal mining to ensure that local communities derive benefit from mineral exploitation through revenue contribution to local authorities and fiscus. The mining of gold in Chimanimani is dominated by land degradation, destruction of forestry, increased crime and water pollution. The community of Chimanimani live in abject poverty amid poor service delivery despite the abundance of minerals and forestry. The CDT calls upon government to empower communities in gold mining through transparent and accountable policies. Political elites are behind the escalation of illicit gold mining activities and environmental violations taking place in our community.
Source: Chimanimani Development Trust (CDT)