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Zim gold output jumps 29%

Smugglers were believed to be smuggling close to 2.5 tonnes every month but with new policies in place, the majority of them are moving out of the country.

Zimbabwe’s gold output in the first nine months of the year rose 29% to 18.89 tonnes from 14.65 tonnes reported in the prior comparative period owing to favourable policy measures put in place by the central bank.

The measures included the 5% incentives for deliveries of at least 20kgs by small scale miners and the timeous cash payments to small scale miners.

Head of gold operations at Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), Mehluleli Dube said gold output for September more than doubled to 3.17 tonnes from 1.36 tonnes during the same period last year.

“Our national gold output stands at 18.89 tonnes which is within a kilogramme to reach last year’s output ,” Dube said.

Since June this year, the country’s gold output has averaged 2.9 tonnes.

Analysts said the country is likely to surpass last year’s gold export receipts due to an increase in gold deliveries and firming international gold prices.

In June this year, RBZ scrapped taxes on small scale miners, began timeous payments at the prevailing international gold prices.

Though gold smugglers are still active, their role has been greatly reduced.

Smugglers were believed to be smuggling close to 2.5 tonnes every month but with new policies in place, the majority of them are moving out of the country.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation chief executive Wellington Takavarasha said the new RBZ policies have encouraged small scale miners to deliver to Fidelity.

“We are now delivering over two tonnes of the yellow metal per month and we are confident that we will reach 2.5 tonnes per month by December,” Takavarasha said.

The government has moved to provide equipment in gold centres to move towards helping the attainment of a US$4bn gold export revenue.

The authorities have begun the establishment of new gold centres following a sudden increase in output.

These are expected to provide basic equipment such as compressors and jackhammers as well as working capital to facilitate optimal production by small-scale miners who supply gold ore.

RBZ shall maintain presence, directly or through approved buying agencies at all gold centres so as to buy all the gold produced.

The gold centres will also provide technical services to miners who supply the ore.

In August, the Cabinet approved proposals for the establishment of over 20 gold centres by mid-2022.

Accordingly, a memorandum of understanding will be signed with four investors who have been identified for the purpose of setting up the gold centres.

The investors will own 100 % equity in the centres, while those who operate joint ventures with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will fully fund the operations of the centres in return for a 90% equity stake.

Some of the gold centres are expected to be established in Makaha, Odzi, Mount Darwin, Shamva, Mazowe and Silobela.

With all miners paid to date and payment at the prevailing international gold prices, a major surge in deliveries is expected till the year end.

Experts say given the current set up, Fidelity Printers and Refiners is guaranteed huge volumes of gold with smuggling expected to go down significantly.

The country’s gold output plummeted 31% to record 19.052 tonnes during 2020 from 27.66tonnes recorded during 2019 due to Covid-19 effects, delay in payments and low foreign currency retention levels. Business Times

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