- August 27, 2020
- Posted in NEWS
This morning, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) President Ms. Henrietta Rushwaya will meet the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in an endeavor to address the issue late payments by the country’s sole gold buyer and exporter, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR).
Of late, Small-scale and artisanal miners have expressed concern over late payment for gold delivered to FPR, saying the development will cripple production of the yellow metal.
FPR is struggling to import cash by air transport to pay for gold deliveries due to restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gold is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign currency earners, having accounted for US$1,3 billion in annual forex receipts in 2019, translating to close to a third of total export earnings. The small-scale mining sector, which accounts for more than 60% of gold deliveries to FPR, last year produced 17 tonnes of gold while major gold mines produced 10 tonnes.
In total, the country’s gold output fell 17% in 2019 to 27,66 tonnes, down from 2018’s 33,29 tonnes, according to the central bank, contributing about 37% to mineral exports, down from 43% recorded in the previous year.
The decline was attributed to electricity shortages, gold leakages, and inadequate equipment for small-scale miners.
In April this year, small-scale miners extracted 0,728 tonnes of gold while primary producers delivered 0,735 tonnes, resulting in a 31% decline in total to 1,46 tonnes from 2,12 tonnes produced in April 2019.
In February, gold deliveries fell 34% to 1,403 tonnes from 2,136 tonnes during the same period in 2019. Again, in March gold deliveries dipped 32% to 1,77 tonnes.
Cumulatively, gold deliveries have plunged 17% to 7,18 tonnes in the first four months of 2020 from 8,63 tonnes extracted during the same period in 2019. The decline was attributed to bottlenecks in imports caused by Covid-19, as governments moved to combat the spread of the virus.
Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched a strategic roadmap to propel the country’s mining sector to a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.
However, the ambitious target is under threat due to the Covid-19 pandemic and policy inconsistency.
Under the mining roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion, while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds, and coal contribute US$1 billion. Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million and US$1,5 billion would come from other minerals.