June 17, 2018
Zimbabwe’s economy is a shell of its potential, but a growing number of Zimbabweans hold out hope that wealth lies literally beneath their feet, in veins of gold deposits just below the earth’s surface.
In Zimbabwe, gold miners are both everywhere and hard to find. Accustomed to spontaneous police raids and slapdash corruption among local officials, the miners tend to prefer anonymity. They move from site to site, following rumors and intuition.
This is nothing new. Enterprising Zimbabweans have for generations driven shovels into the ground to find gold and sell it on the black market. In 2014, though, the government introduced artisanal-mining permits for people who work independently or in small groups. Now, anyone can legally mine for gold, as long as the miner sells it to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the government gold buyer. While it can be expensive to obtain all the permits and equipment required to legally mine for gold, enforcement of those rules is spotty. And Fidelity Printers and Refiners is willing to ignore violations if the miners deliver even tiny amounts of the precious metal to the government’s coffers.
For the first time, miners in some of Zimbabwe’s key gold districts agreed to be photographed up close. Global Press Journal reporters explained this project in local languages, ensuring that the miners understood that their portraits would be published in an effort to reveal this piece of their lives.
Read more of our coverage of Zimbabwe’s gold miners here.
Fortune Moyo, GPJ Zimbabwe