Smuggling of gold has been a problem for Zimbabwe for many years. The country is rich in minerals, including gold, and it is estimated that a significant amount of Zimbabwean gold is smuggled out of the country, which means that the government is missing out on revenue that could be used for development projects.

However, it is important to note that the majority of Zimbabwean gold exports reach the market through legitimate channels and contribute positively to the economy. Zimbabwe is the seventh-largest producer of gold in Africa and exports the precious metal to countries around the world through its licensed dealers.

The Al Jazeera documentary highlighted the illegal activities of certain individuals and groups involved in smuggling gold out of Zimbabwe. However, it sought to tar the entire industry with the same brush, which is a misrepresentation if not disinformation.

Just for clarity:

  1. Zimbabwe increased its gold production by 617.6% from 4.9 tons in 2008, during the near-collapse of our economy due to illegal sanctions, to 36.38 tons in 2022.
  2. This 2022 output represents a 194% increase from the output in 1980.

This growth has been achieved through the legalization and participation of artisanal miners, legitimate investment in artisanal mining, licensed buyers purchasing gold at fair prices from the miners, and submitting the gold to Fidelity for refining before exporting it legally.

This constitutes Zimbabwe’s legitimate #GoldRush economy, which has helped the government manage COVID without debt, removed Zimbabwe from the list of nations most vulnerable to TB, and enabled the government to spend US$25 million of its own money to build four new hospitals and clinics within the last three years, without debt. Additionally, the proceeds from gold and other resources have aided Zimbabwe in building roads, dams, bridges, and schools without loans.

Anything outside of this legal process of selling gold, alluded to by the licensed gold dealers in the documentary, is not accounted for and therefore not part of the legitimate GoldRush process that the buyers in the documentary attested to.

Those who facilitate illegal activities, including those who claim to be government officials who assist smugglers in smuggling gold out of Zimbabwe, if proven guilty, would be engaged in criminal activity that tarnishes Zimbabwe and its legitimate buyers and should be dealt with accordingly.

The problem with the “GoldMafia” documentary is that it sought to conflate the legitimate Gold Rush economy with illegitimate smuggling and portray both as one, in order to scandalize Zimbabwean gold.

We need to make a clear distinction between the two and emphasize that the majority of Zimbabwean gold is sold legitimately in global markets through the Gold Rush process by dealers who are vetted in both Zimbabwe and Dubai. Some dealers even have anti-money laundering clearances from Dubai.

This statement was written by Rutendo Matinyarare, Chairman of ZASM.”

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