GOLD deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners reached a record 33,3 tonnes in 2018, surpassing the 27 tonnes produced in 1999.
The increase has been attributed to measures taken by Government, including curbing leakages.
Government has also introduced a number of programmes to promote gold mining, especially for artisanal miners, who have delivered the largest chunk of the mineral.
In 2017, the country produced 24 tonnes of gold.
President Mnangagwa’s administration introduced empowerment programmes for small scale miners, who mined and delivered 21,67 tonnes of the 33,3 tonnes delivered last year.
Government had set a target of 34 tonnes in 2018.
Addressing a Zanu-PF inter-district meeting in Chegutu over the weekend, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said:
“Last year, 21,67 tonnes of gold was produced by artisanal miners, while 11,6 tonnes came from big mining firms.
“After the output as a Ministry, we then approached the President saying the tonnage might rise beyond the current level.”
Deputy Minister Kambamura said Government will continue supporting small scale miners.
“Our President has a noble stance in line with minerals,” he said.
“During his recent tour of Russia and Belarus, among other countries, seeking investment opportunities, he managed to source machines to be used by small scale miners which will be availed soon.”
Deputy Minister Kambamura bemoaned the tendency by some companies to keep claims for speculative reasons.
“For example, Golden Valley has 2 524 claims, but only five blocks are being used,” he said.
“The mine management was told that it should give people tributes, so we gave them up to March 1 this year to cede claims.”
Deputy Minister Kambamura said Government would be forced to take the legal route if such companies did not comply with its directives.
“Government is failing to get returns of its claims,” he said.
“In that case, we will offer capable miners a chance as their little contributions combined can make a significant impact to the fiscus.”
Government has set up a national gold mobilisation task force mandated to ensure all the gold produced in the country goes through formal channels.
The taskforce includes officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and members of the security forces.
President Mnangagwa has set a target of making Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030 and mining plays a significant role in attaining this vision.