Miners Line Up to Tap Zimbabwe Gold
Source: Commodity Online (6/11/09)
". . .miners across the globe are responding to the country's new move to deregulate the industry."
Following Zimbabwe's deregulation step, ending 20-year-old state monopoly on buying gold, miners are now lining up to tap the country's potential in gold mining.
Gold is Zimbabwe's top exports commodity. However, gold production has tumbled as miners complained that the Reserve Bank—the only authorized buyer for 21 years—offered unfair prices and then delayed on payments.
According to news agency reports, mining operations have also been hit by power cuts and severe shortage of foreign currency.
The government's new step allows miners to market their gold freely and to retain all their earnings.
In the first quarter of the year, no gold was lodged for sale, but in April and May miners brought in 600 kg. Last year the country produced only 3,576 kg of gold—compared to a peak of 27,108 kg in 1999.
The change in the laws gives a glimmer of hope in a country desperately searching for signs of a turnaround in a once-vibrant economy that collapsed over the last decade.
Zimbabwe says it needs $8.5 billion over three years to revive the economy and the civil service.
Zimbabwe is one of the poorest nations in the world. Reviving key industries such as gold mining would help Zimbabwe earn more revenue.