FIDELITY Printers and Refiners (FPR) has upped the ante in gold mobilisation, amid indications that it will soon be buying gold directly from miners as it desperately seeks to arrest leaks and boost deliveries.
Fidelity is the country’s sole gold buying unit and is superintended by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Yesterday, Fidelity general manager Fradreck Kunaka, said the gold mobilisation strategy will enhance accountability and stem illegal gold trade.
“Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Private) Limited would like to advise the public that it has enhanced arrangements for purchasing of gold from artisanal and small-scale gold miners through collaboration with and working directly with gold producers,” said Mr Kunaka.
“Under the new and more robust system, Fidelity will utilise its gold buying and service centres across the country to buy gold directly from the artisanal and small scale miners and the use of agency arrangements where necessary.”
In the 2019 Budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, announced a raft of measures “for improved performance of the mining sector”.
The measures include reviewing surrender requirements to ensure continued production across all key minerals; dealing with mining claims held for speculative purposes; resuscitating closed and opening of new mines with potential; action and roll out plan for 22 assets under ZMDC; and “plugging leakages in the marketing of gold, including the implementation of a robust monitoring framework”.
As at end of October, gold deliveries had surpassed the 30 tonnes mark, which was this year’s target.
Government has since set a stretch target of 34 tonnes, which could be achieved.
However, challenges that include fuel queues are threatening to rock the boat as miners are now struggling to ferry their ore to milling centres.
Small-scale miners are also concerned over the 70 percent (USD)/ 30 percent (RTGS) payments for delivered gold.
Most of the miners want Fidelity to pay all the money for gold in US dollars, as is done by illegal gold buyers.
Other illegal buyers are understood to be bankrolling some small-scale miners to enable them to ramp up production through provision of fuel to power their crushers and torches for use underground.
This has caused some illegal miners to shun the formal market in favour of the risky parallel market.
It is now expected that the new measures by Fidelity would go some way in containing gold leaks.
source: The Herald