Govt liberalises gemstone trading
GOVERNMET has liberalised gemstones trading by allowing individuals and corporates to participate in the buying and selling of the semi-precious stones as agents of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
Last year, MMCZ announced that it had drafted a legal framework seeking to empower small-scale miners to extract and trade in semi-precious gemstones as the country seeks to boost mineral output. In the past, there have been reports of semi-precious stones being discovered in some parts of Zimbabwe, but the country was losing millions of dollars in potential revenue through well-orchestrated international trafficking syndicates smuggling the minerals to countries such as Mozambique and Zambia, among others.
MMCZ has acknowledged that some people were mining and trading the gemstones without going through the normal processes that will ensure the country benefits at large.
“Interested Zimbabwean citizens (individuals and corporates) are invited to submit expression of interest to be considered and licenced as MMCZ sub-agents to purchase coloured gemstones around the country and selling same through the corporation as per MMCZ Act, Chapter 21:04,” it said in a public notice yesterday.
The MMCZ said gemstones sub-agents were appointed in terms of Statutory Instrument 256 of 2019. The function of the corporation’s sub-agent is to buy coloured gemstones within Special Grants as defined in the SI 265 of 2019 and sell these through MMCZ. It is hoped that the decision to liberalise the trading of the minerals would go a long way in in curbing corruption and bringing transparency in the gemstones market.
The Zimbabwe Miners Federation has agreed on joint efforts with MMCZ to roll out an outreach programme to curtail rampant leakages of the country’s semi-precious minerals. It is believed that Zimbabwe has vast deposits of gemstones with an estimated value of US$20 billion.
The semi-precious minerals are largely used for jewellery manufacturing and decorative purposes. Such gemstones, which are found in areas like Gutu, Mutoko, Zvishavane, Mutare and Mt Darwin, Rusape, Odzi, Hurungwe and Karoi. These include agate, goshenite, chrysoberyl, amethyst, aquamarine, heliodor, iolite and tourmaline.