Mining industry officials in South Africa are set to introduce a “gold rush” scheme to bring some of the gold in the country back to its rightful owners.
The plan, which is part of the National Mining Industry Strategy, would see the national gold mining industry bring back up to 200 tonnes of gold a year to local communities, with the government pledging to spend at least $300 million in mining infrastructure and other investments to return the precious metal to the country’s rightful owners, a report said on Wednesday.
“The gold is the cornerstone of the South African economy and it is vital that it is returned to the rightful owners,” said South Africa’s mining minister, Mcebisi Jonas.
The government also pledged to invest at least 2% of national budget into a programme to create jobs in mining and other industries, according to the South Africa National Mining and Metals Development Corporation.
However, a spokesperson for the government said the scheme was a private initiative and not part of a larger strategy to bring South Africa back to the gold standard.
The National Mining Strategy, unveiled in July, includes the idea of returning some of South Africas gold to its owners.
But the plan has been criticized by the South Africans mining industry and experts, who argue it would be impossible to get the gold back to where it belongs.
In February, the country agreed to allow the national mining industry to return a quarter of its gold reserves to its former owners.
Gold is an integral part of South African society and is an important part of national economy.
It has long been one of the most valuable resources and is the countrys largest export commodity, worth approximately $500 billion.