In response to worries about significant gold leakages and illegal activity, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs, and Security has instructed the government to alter the mining model at Redwing Mine by the end of this month.
The center of widespread thievery and environmental destruction is Redwing, which was once managed by South African businessman Mzi Khumalo and is now in the hands of Zanu PF supporter Pedzisai “Scott” Sakupwanya (shown).
Zimbabwe is blessed with more than 40 distinct minerals, and its mining industry has grown to constitute its economic backbone. 60% of the nation’s export earnings come from the mining industry, according to National Development Strategy One (2021 to 2025).
However, mineral leakages in the mining sector have had a detrimental impact on the sector’s capacity to help the nation evolve socioeconomically.
The government established a revenue goal for the gold industry of $4 billion by 2023. According to experts, illegal commerce in the extractive sector is destroying the economy, fostering chaos in communities, and has the ability to cause incalculable pain for everyday people as well as pose a threat to national security.
In light of this, the committee launched an investigation into the security of minerals in order to determine the potential reasons of mineral leakages in the nation and make recommendations for how to stop them.
According to a report by the parliamentary portfolio committee titled The Security of Minerals: Illicit Trading in Minerals and Mineral Leakages, Treasury is losing large amounts of money through illegal trade in minerals, particularly gold.
“By 30 June 2023, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should review the mining model at Redwing Mine in order to adopt a sustainable mining model that integrates former mine workers and the surrounding community so that leakages are minimised,” the report reads.
“The Committee noted with concern that another source of gold leakages was at mining companies that have ownership wrangles. A case in point was Redwing Mine in Penhalonga which experienced an influx of illegal miners following a prolonged ownership wrangle. The Committee had an opportunity to meet former workers, management of Redwing Mine and Better Brands.
“The former workers highlighted that a lot of gold leakages were happening through artisanal mining at the tributary granted to Better Brands.”
The ommittee was told by the workers that there were over 800 pits and 400 hammer mills operating in Penhalonga.
In addition, the report noted that there were many gold buyers, both registered and unregistered, operating in the area. Furthermore, there were over 13 illegal crossing points into Mozambique and it was believed that those routes were being used to smuggle gold out of the country.
“The Committee was informed by the workers that, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, ZRP and Environment Management Agency (EMA) were struggling to handle the illegal mining, milling and trading activities happening in the Penhalonga area. The local police station has no vehicle for patrols and effective enforcement of the law,” the report shows.
“Fidelity Gold Refiners were not stationed at the mining site to facilitate the buying of gold. There were high chances of under-declaration of gold produced and finally sold through formal channels.
“Better Brands told the Committee that its operations were above board and had declared 46,67kg to Fidelity Gold Refiners for the eight months it had been in operation since July 2021.
They asserted that illegal hammer mills that had mushroomed near its mining tribute posed serious operational challenges and were a source of massive gold leakages.”