Zimbabwe's gold miner RioZim on Tuesday said it would take legal action to force the central bank to pay it in U.S. dollars for part of its output, signalling impatience by mining companies over acute dollar shortages afflicting the economy.
The shortages have worsened since 2016 and are the biggest concern for foreign investors seeking a foothold in Zimbabwe, which is trying to recover after 20 years of economic hardship under former leader Robert Mugabe.
RioZim, which operates three gold mines, a nickel refinery and holds minority shares in the Rio Tinto-run Murowa Diamonds, said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had for some time failed to pay U.S. dollars to the miner, breaching its own policy.
The RBZ governor could not be reached for comment because he was travelling to Indonesia for World Bank and IMF meetings.
Mines sell their gold to the RBZ-owned Fidelity Printers and Refiners, which then export it.
According to RBZ policy, gold mines, from Oct. 1, can retain 30 percent of their dollar sales, down from 50 percent before that date.
The central bank's policy is to credit miners' accounts with actual U.S. dollars, with the remaining 70 percent of sales paid for through electronic dollars known locally as "Zollars."