By Reuters Staff
HARARE, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s central bank will unbundle its gold refining and printing unit into two separate companies and sell a majority stake in the new gold refinery business to miners, governor John Mangudya said on Wednesday.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) is the sole buyer, refiner and exporter of gold in the country but the government has come under pressure to allow private players to also invest in it.
Mangudya said the bank would retain 40% shares in the new gold refining business and sell the balance to large scale and small scale gold miners.
“The unbundling of FPR is meant to partially privatise the gold refining business by allowing private players to acquire a stake therein,” Mangudya said.
Mangudya said the central bank would continue to hold 100% shareholding in the printing and minting business for national security reasons.
The government says gold worth $1.2 billion is illegally exported from the country annually and small scale miners, who extract most of the precious metal in Zimbabwe, blame low prices and late payments by FPR for the leakages. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Alexandra Hudson)