By Business Reporter – Friday 1 May 2020
HARARE (Mining Index) – ZIMBABWE’S gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) for the first quarter of 2020 dropped to 5,721.71 tonnes compared to 6,523.49 tonnes delivered in the same period last year, falling short of 801.78 tonnes.
According to Fidelity, small scale miners produced more gold at 3,571.69 tonnes relative to primary producers who recorded 2,150.02 tonnes in the period under review.
ASM deliveries for the month of March 2020 decreased to 1,061.66 tonnes compared to 1,690.63 delivered in March 2019. February 2020 was the hardest hit with a paltry 696.40 tonnes, less than half of the 1,496.27 produced in the same month last year.
FPR attributed the drop in gold deliveries to various local and global factors such as negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, electricity challenges affecting the country, deepening gold shafts and lack of mining equipment among small scale miners.
“Gold deliveries recorded declined because of a number of factors which have had a negative bearing in the previous months which are; power outages, inefficient mining and processing technologies in use, inappropriate mining methodologies especially at a time when most mines have deepened beyond 30 metres and inappropriate ore hoisting machinery from the deep mine shafts. Further, trend is usually synonymous with the rain season as most artisanal and small scale mines are not properly equipped to deal with rain seepage,” said FPR general manager Fradreck Kunaka.
The spread of COVID-19 has left businesses around the world counting loses, with over 100 countries having issued restrictions on travel and movement of goods.
On 29th of March 2020, Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe (CoMZ) estimated the mining industry had lost more than USD $200 million due to COVID-19 after Zimbabwe instituted a 21-day lockdown of all industry and commerce facets to curb and contain the spread of the virus.
“This was worsened by the COVID 19 pandemic which had already started affecting the countries from which mining chemicals such as cyanide are sourced,”
“In reading into the figures, cognisance must be taken of the impact of COVID 19 on the operations of various mines. The pandemic affected those countries from which mining inputs are produced thus downstream users were impacted negatively by reduced production in countries such as China and South Korea,” he said.
Mr Kunaka said the months of February and March were significantly affected resulting in set targets not being achieved.
“Movement of chemical consignments from the said countries was affected as early as February 2020 thus the ripple effects started to be felt in March 2020 going forward,” he said.
Historical figures FY2019 reveal gold deliveries to Fidelity slumped 17 percent to 27.66 tonnes falling short of government’s target of 40 tonnes.
The 27.66 tonnes delivered to Fidelity FY2019 were however a decline from 33.2 tonnes delivered FY2018.
Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM) have contributed immensely to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with gold production contributing approximately 66 percent of gold delivered to FPR FY2018.
Miner’s body, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) is targeting to produce 80 tonnes of gold annually in tandem with the broad vision to catapult the mining industry into a US$12bln sector by 2023. ENDS// www.miningndex.co.zw
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