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Local gold buyers key to achieving 100-tonne target

Mines and Mining Development Minister Mr Winston Chitando says the National Gold Buyers Association (NGBA) is key “in chieving the 100-tonne bullion target a year by 2023”.

This comes as small-scale miners are expected to continue playing a pivotal role in shoring up gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Fidelity).

The newly formed NGBA has since made a commitment to protect the country’s interests in trading and subsequent beneficiation of the yellow metal.

“I am pleased that (the NGBA) has braced itself for this noble cause because leakages are threatening gold deliveries, so I welcome this as a big achievement,” Minister Chitando told an interface meeting of the association on Thursday.

While the country has been producing large quantities of gold every year, deliveries to FPR have been low due to smuggling and related leakages.

Interest groups such as the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) are currently lobbying for review of the country’s licensing regime.

It is believed that some licence holders are abusing their privilege by buying gold at very low prices and smuggling it outside the country.

Interim NGBA chairperson Mr Pedzai Scott Sakupwanya said there was need to ensure the country gets the most out of its mineral resources.

“Our thrust is to ensure the country’s interests are protected in the trading of the yellow metal,” he said at the meeting with Minister Chitando, adding: “Buyers knew each other well such that it was important to have an organised industry where chaos and price distortions were eliminated.”

Last month, Mr Sakupwanya was elected along with Mr Johane Sithole and Mr Raj Skorous as caretaker leaders of the lobby group formed to champion the interests of gold agents as well as improve gold deliveries.

“I am honoured to have been elected as the founding NGBA chairman, and whose mandate is to help Government to raise bullion deliveries through solid and recognisable structures that can help in the monitoring and coordination of licensed players or agents’ activities, as well as miners under ZMF’s umbrella,” the Better Brands Jewellery owner said then.

“Crucially, this initiative was not only a vote of confidence in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s policies such as the US$12 billion mining sector-earnings vision, but a confirmation of our support for a self-regulated industry where indiscipline is not tolerated,” he said.

Government has identified mining and agriculture as key sectors to support sustainable economic growth.

However, gold smuggling has been of major concern.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube recently observed that gold was illegally finding its way to destinations such as South Africa and Dubai.

On target

Government is confident the mining sector would achieve its target of hauling US$12 billion worth of minerals per year by 2023, up from US$2,7 billion in 2017.

The envisaged output in the sector is expected to feed into plans to transition to an upper middle-income society by 2030.

Under the current roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion, while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds and coal will contribute US$1 billion.

Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million, while other minerals will weigh in with US$1,5 billion.

The target does not factor industries that benefit through forward and backward linkages along the value chain.

Key deliverables of the sector include enhanced exploration, enhanced investment and capacity building, increased productivity and employment creation, greater value addition, increased exports and foreign currency generation, and ensuring optimum benefits to the country and the people. SundayMail


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