A report from South Africa Resource Watch contains a preliminary investigation of Zimbabwe’s illicit gold trade, covering activities for the 3 years from 2017 to 2019. The primary objective of this investigative report is to shed more light, and to offer a fresh perspective on the nature and extent of the illicit gold trade in Zimbabwe. The report attempts to come up with estimates of gold production, gold smuggled out of the country, and gold smuggled into the country. The report takes special interest in the nature of artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMers), identifying the diverse attributes of this special group of miners who are usually all painted with the same brush. It is said that a focus on the nature and extent of illicit gold trade in Zimbabwe is very timely in view of the fact that the country is basing its plans for socio-economic recovery and growth on the mining sector. A recent report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development on illicit financial flows (IFF) out of Africa singled out gold, along with diamonds and platinum, as the commodities most vulnerable to IFF. The report combines a literature review and key informant interviews with primary stakeholders in the gold industry – including relevant government institutions, artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMers), gold buyers, gold custom millers, and journalists. The report concludes that, whilst some of the challenges behind illicit gold trade are beyond government control, the report clearly shows that government can make huge progress to curb illicit gold trade through an enabling gold trading framework that is fair, stable, transparent and accountable.
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