ZIMBABWE’s gold mining sector breached the 28 tonnes record deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners by end of September and is now short of two tonnes to meet this year’s 30-tonne target.
Official statistics from Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the country’s sole gold buyer, indicate that small-scale miners maintained their lead in terms of gold output in the third quarter of the year, delivering a cumulative total of 19,2 tonnes in the nine-month period to September 30, 2018.
Primary producers on one hand delivered a cumulative total of 9,02 tonnes. When combined, both primary and small-scale producers delivered 28,2 tonnes of gold to Fidelity by end of third quarter.
The increase in gold output has been attributed to enhanced mining capacity by Government.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in 2016 established a Gold Development Initiative Fund (GDIF) through Fidelity to support gold mining operations in the country.
The fund has since been increased to $150 million with almost $100 million already having been disbursed.
In the month of August 2018 alone, 3,92 tonnes of gold were delivered by both primary and small-scale miners.
Out of this total, small -scale miners contributed 3,03 tonnes with large producers trailing at 0,98 tonnes. Overally, the eight months of the year saw deliveries of 24,74 tonnes.
Archival records show the highest gold output the country achieved was 27,1 tonnes in 1999.
Last year the country only recorded 24 tonnes. Prospects are high the country will by far surpass the 30-tonne mark, as loan and equipment support towards the sector continues to pay dividends.
Fidelity Printers and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), an umbrella body for small-scale miners in the country, have recently intensified awareness campaigns across provinces where they are encouraging miners to sell their gold through formal channels. Fidelity has gone to the extent of allowing those will small quantities of gold to sell their mineral upon production of only an identity document.
“A combination of wider adoption of mining technology, equipment and loan support to small-scale producers has helped a lot,” said ZMF first vice president, Mr Marufu Sithole.
“It is proving now that with capacity, we are able to exploit rich gold belts and are adding value to the economy. We are happy that we are now big mining players.
“Government is now recognising small-scale miners as significant players and there is ease of doing business as miners have access to equipment and processing facilities.”
Mr Sithole also applauded the liberalisation and decentralisation of gold processing and buying centres, which he said have gone a long way in enticing formal gold deals and reducing leakages.
The gold sector remains bullish and going forward miners have pledged to produce up to 100 tonnes of the yellow metal annually if given adequate stakeholder support.
Source : Chronicle