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Zimbabwe’s gold glitters as exports double

Zimbabwe’s gold export revenue more than doubled in the month of February to US$134,99m from US$66,18m achieved in the prior comparative period on the back of increased output and firming prices.

Gold delivered to the country’s sole buyer and marketer of the yellow metal, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) soared 92% to 2,26 tonnes from 1,178 tonnes delivered in the same period last year.

FPR acting general manager Peter Magaramombe said mining incentives pushed volumes in the gold sector.

“This year gold export receipts were off to a strong start due to firm commodity prices on the international market.

“We hope to continue riding on this purple up to year end,” Magaramombe said.

The country’s gold deliveries also jumped 137% to 5,131 tonnes during the first two months of 2022 from 2,168 tonnes during the comparable period due to improved mining policies.

The total gold delivered to FPR in January 2022 stood at 2,867 tonnes at an average price of US$58 410 per kilogramme against January’s output of 0.997 tonnes at an average of US$60 002 per kg.

The small scale miners delivered 2,05 tonnes in January this year from 0,355 tonnes delivered during the same period last year while large scale producers delivered 0,814 tonnes against 0,642 tonnes.

The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Isaac Kwesu said there was need for improved production to capitalise on the current strong mineral prices.

“The firm commodity prices continue to be good for miners but there is a need to ramp up production to ensure that we have capitalised on this current wave of very good prices,” Kwesu said.

He said though the output is fairly good, there was still a long way to go to achieve an average of 8,3 tonnes per month to reach 100 tonnes a year.

The country’s gold export receipts rose by 42% to US$1,7bn last year from the US$1,2bn earned in 2020 due to improved gold output and firm prices.

Gold deliveries to FPR soared 55% to record 29.6 tonnes in 2021 from 19,05 in 2020 on the back of timeous payments and incentives given to yellow metal producers.

The 33,4 tonnes of gold delivered in 2018 is the best output ever, followed by 29,6 tonnes last year and 29,4 in 2018.

Gold is the third largest foreign currency earner after platinum and diaspora remittances.

However, the yellow metal has in the past been smuggled due to payment delays by FPR and low prices compared to those obtained on the international market.

Authorities have rectified the problem with payment being timeous and prices at par with those on the international markets.

In addition, the central bank has also scrapped taxes on small scale miners to encourage deliveries through formal channels.

Experts say there is a need to review retention levels for the large scale miners and capacitation of small scale miners to ramp up production.

On Tuesday, the international gold prices stood at US $61 665 per kilogramme and Fidelity was paying above US$61587 per kg to those who delivered above 20kg.

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

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