The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

GOLD de­liv­er­ies to Fidelity Print­ers and Re­fin­ers closed 2016 at 21,43 tonnes, an in­crease of nearly 16 per­cent from 18,5t in 2015, mainly spurred by a growth in the con­tri­bu­tion of small-scale min­ers.

Stats from FPR show that the gap be­tween pri­mary pro­duc­ers and small-scale pro­duc­ers con­tin­ues to nar­row at 11,75t and 9,68t re­spec­tively.

How­ever, in the fourth quar­ter, de­liv­er­ies from the small-scale sec­tor sur­passed pri­mary pro­duc­ers at 3,16t vs 2,95t. His­tor­i­cally, in 2005 smallscale min­ers pro­duced slightly un­der 50 per­cent of the to­tal 21t pro­duced.

The resur­gence in the sec­tor is mainly at­trib­ut­able to var­i­ous ini­tia­tives from the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe and the Min­istry of Mines to curb smug­gling of gold in the small-scale min­ing sec­tor. Re­ports es­ti­mate that about 50 per­cent of gold pro­duced in Zim­babwe is smug­gled.

The coun­try has about 25 000 reg­is­tered smallscale min­ers while it is es­ti­mated that 500 000 are in­volved in ar­ti­sanal min­ing.

The Cen­tral Bank set up a $20 mil­lion gold devel­op­ment ini­tia­tive fa­cil­ity for small-scale gold min­ers to help re­duce leak­ages and ul­ti­mately in­crease gold pro­duc­tion.

The loan fa­cil­ity was sup­ported by a down­ward re­view of milling fees, li­cence fees for ex­plo­sives, EMA fees as well as Ru­ral District Coun­cil fees with the aim of re­duc­ing the cost of do­ing busi­ness in the min­ing sec­tor which now plays a key role in driv­ing eco­nomic growth in the coun­try.

The min­ers are also ben­e­fit­ing from the RBZ’s 5 per­cent ex­port in­cen­tive scheme. How­ever, chal­lenges in the small-scale sec­tor re­main and these in­clude, lack of ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture which in turn leads to high util­i­sa­tion of rudi­men­tary min­ing equip­ment, lack of ge­o­log­i­cal in­for­ma­tion of the ore bod­ies and lack of man­age­ment skills and fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy.

On the fig­ures, Novem­ber reg­is­tered the high­est de­liv­er­ies at 2,16t while Jan­uary had the low­est at 1,49t. The av­er­age price for the year was at $40 135/kg. The high­est monthly av­er­age price per ounce ob­tained in the year was $1 341,09 which was achieved in Au­gust.

The sta­tis­tics, how­ever, do not in­clude de­liv­er­ies from the PGM mines which on av­er­age pro­duce about 3 to 3,5t of gold an­nu­ally. If these are in­cluded, Zim­babwe met its 2016 tar­get of 24t.

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