HARARE - Zimbabwe has recovered gold and diamonds worth $2,4 million from unlicensed dealers in the 11 months to August this year, official figures show.
The Mines ministry said the minerals had been seized by the police from about 360 people, during the period under review.
“Recoveries between September 2014 and August 2015 of gold and diamonds valued at $2 452 034, 82 have been made. This is as a result of close collaboration between the ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” the ministry said in a statement.
In the period under review, Matabeleland South province led the gold incidents as Harare led the diamond cases.
“In some cases smuggling of the gold and diamonds to outside the country was intercepted. Efforts to stamp out smuggling of the minerals will be intensified,” the Walter Chidakwa-led ministry said.
This comes as rough diamonds and gold worth more than R2 million (approximately $250 000) were confiscated at Beitbridge Border Post, last week.
While government early this year directed all gold milling firms to deposit all gold with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s Fidelity Printers to plug leakages, the central bank is moving to decriminalise gold possession.
In his Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement, the RBZ chief John Mangudya said the apex bank was already in discussions with the relevant stakeholders to decriminalise gold possession.
“There is need to decriminalise the possession of gold and instead focus on engaging the artisan miners on the norms and principles of responsible gold trading in line with best practice.
“To this end, the Reserve Bank, in consultation with the relevant authorities, is currently working on a policy to decriminalise the possession of gold in order to allow those in possession of gold to sell it to Fidelity Printers and Refiners,” Mangudya said in the statement.