Zimbabwe listed and diversified miner, RioZim has resumed operations at its three gold mines that had it voluntarily shut down earlier this month. Reuters
HARARE -  Zimbabwe listed and diversified miner, RioZim has resumed operations at its three gold mines that had it voluntarily shut down earlier this month after failing to access foreign currency from bullion sales through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

RioZim is currently rendering assistance to help with a situation where more than 23 illegal gold miners at its disused mines were trapped after flooding.

The illegal gold miners are now feared dead after the incident, which has left RioZim and other stakeholders battling to pump out water from the shafts. Civic organisations have blamed the company for failing to rehabilitate the environment after mining out the area.

On Friday, RioZim said operations had resumed at its three gold mines that had been mothballed due to foreign currency shortages. Mines Minister, Winston Chitando, recently said the government was working on measures to ease the foreign currency crunch that is weighing down miners

“RioZim wishes to notify all of its stakeholders that the company’s gold operations have resumed full production as normal,” Wilson Gwatiringa, corporate affairs executive for RioZim said on Friday.

RioZim’s gold mines include Renco, Cam and Mortar and Dalny. The company also owns the Empress Refinery, the Murowa Diamond mine and some coal assets but had said it required immediate access to its forex earnings from bullion sales to sustain operations.

The Zimbabwean central bank, says RioZim, has now cleared the amount owed to the company in hard currency, paving the way for the resumption of production.

“The development (re-opening of gold mines) follows the fruitful discussions held with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which facilitated the clearance of all arrear payments thus allowing the company to resume its normal operations,” added Gwatiringa.

Central bank governor, John Mangudya is readying up the 2019 Monetary Policy Statement which is expected in the next few days. It is understood that the policy will outline new monetary measures to boost the productive sector, especially mining companies.

According to currency policy, gold miners are required to retain just above half of their sales proceeds in foreign currency while the remainder is paid out in local bond notes. Platinum miners also cede a portion of their forex sales proceeds to the government

Other gold producers in Zimbabwe include Metallon, Caledonia Mining Corp and Asa Resources, formerly Mwana Africa, which runs the Freda Rebecca gold mine.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE