THE coun­try’s gold sec­tor re­mains bullish with min­ers yes­ter­day pledg­ing to pro­duce up to 100 tonnes of the yel­low metal an­nu­ally if given ad­e­quate sup­port by Gov­ern­ment.

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Pros­per Ndlovu Bu­l­awayo Bureau

CON­TRIBUT­ING dur­ing a gold min­ing con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by Fidelity Print­ers and Re­fin­ers (FPR) in Bu­l­awayo, the min­ers said the 100-tonne tar­get was not only am­bi­tious but achiev­able. They de­manded im­proved ef­fi­ciency when re­ceiv­ing pay­ment for their de­liv­er­ies among a chain of in­cen­tives they said will en­hance mop­ping up of gold in dif­fer­ent min­ing zones across the coun­try. While they ap­pre­ci­ated re­ceiv­ing 70 per­cent of their pay­ments in for­eign cur­rency, the min­ers com­plained over de­lays by Fidelity in de­posit­ing the re­main­ing 30 per­cent into their bank ac­counts. They said this tempts some to re­sort to par­al­lel mar­ket­ing, which tends to ex­ter­nalise the re­source.

Some min­ers suggested that the 10 per­cent ex­port in­cen­tive given to them by the cen­tral bank was no longer valu­able enough given the dis­tor­tion of bond notes value and black mar­ket pre­mi­ums in re­la­tion to hard cur­rency.

Oth­ers de­manded that all pay­ments for de­liv­er­ies be made in cash say­ing many ar­ti­sanal min­ers who pro­duce small quan­ti­ties of gold do not have bank ac­counts.

Dur­ing dis­cus­sion gold millers re­vealed that many in­for­mal gold pro­duc­ers with­out bank ac­counts were feed­ing the par­al­lel mar­ket and ap­pealed to Gov­ern­ment to de­vise strate­gies of en­tic­ing them to de­liver their min­eral for­mally.

“There is a need to re­solve the cur­rency prob­lem in the econ­omy to deal with these things. If you com­bine these small quan­ti­ties they are part of the 100tonne tar­get but these small guys op­er­ate out­side the for­mal bank­ing sys­tem,” said one miller from the floor.

The min­ers re­quested in­creased work­ing cap­i­tal and equip­ment sup­port. Some re­quested a waiver on duty when im­port­ing gold min­ing equip­ment in the same man­ner the pol­icy ap­plies to the tourism sec­tor.

Oth­ers ac­cused the bank­ing sec­tor of poor elec­tronic pay­ment ser­vices say­ing this was the rea­son why most min­ers re­sist us­ing dig­i­tal bank­ing sys­tems as they are prone to de­lay or sys­tem fail­ure.

Ms Kundai Chikonzo who op­er­ates from Fi­l­abusi said achiev­ing 100-tonne tar­get should in­clude har­vest­ing gold in­put from those con­sid­ered amako­rokoza (il­le­gal pan­ners) who con­sti­tute a large num­ber of gold pro­duc­ers.

“An ef­fec­tive pay­ment sys­tem and good net­work will en­tice these to de­liver their gold for­mally,” she said.

Small scale min­ers have re­cently taken over tra­di­tional big cor­po­rates in terms of gold de­liv­er­ies, the coun­try’s sole buyer of the pre­cious min­eral.

In the month of Au­gust 2018 alone, 3,92 tonnes of gold was de­liv­ered by both pri­mary and small scale min­ers, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures from Fidelity.

Out of this to­tal small scale min­ers con­trib­uted 3,03 tonnes with large pro­duc­ers trail­ing at 0,98 tonnes. Over­ally, the past eight months have seen de­liv­er­ies of 24,74 tonnes.

In his pre­sen­ta­tion ear­lier, Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe (RBZ) prin­ci­pal an­a­lyst, Mr Dis­honi Lim­bikani, said Zim­babwe was geared to sur­pass this year’s 30 tonnes gold tar­get hav­ing al­ready sur­passed the 24 tonnes mark, which was achieved in 2017.

The 30-tonne would be the high­est since the coun­try gained in­de­pen­dence in 1980. The high­est gold out­put the coun­try achieved was 27,1 tonnes in 1999.

He ap­plauded the gold min­ers for con­tribut­ing to eco­nomic growth through im­proved out­put, whose ex­port was sus­tain­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity in other sec­tors. He also stressed the need to curb il­le­gal gold deal­ing.

“The 100-tonne tar­get is doable, it’s achiev­able and prob­a­bly we can be the top gold pro­ducer in Africa. If I am not mis­taken we have got about 5000 claims and these should be used pro­duc­tively,” he said.

“We thank you for your con­tri­bu­tion to the econ­omy and en­cour­age you to sell your gold to Fidelity as fail­ure to do so means we are con­tribut­ing to the demise of this na­tion.”

Head of gold op­er­a­tions at Fidelity, Mr Mehluleli Dube, re­ported that their Bu­l­awayo cen­tre alone has de­liv­ered 240kgs of gold in the month of Au­gust alone, and said this was very sig­nif­i­cant. Through its sub­sidiary, Fidelity, the RBZ in 2016 es­tab­lished a Gold De­vel­op­ment Ini­tia­tive Fund (GDIF) to sup­port gold min­ing op­er­a­tions in the coun­try.

The fund­ing has since been in­creased to $150 mil­lion with al­most $100 mil­lion al­ready hav­ing been dis­bursed. Fidelity has at­trib­uted the sharp in­crease in gold out­put to the fund­ing sup­port, which helped equip many min­ers and en­hanced their ca­pac­ity.

GDIF head at Fidelity, Mr Matthew Chi­davaenzi said with in­crease in gold out­put, Zim­babwe has to move from sell­ing all its gold to build­ing re­serves as a store of value and back­ing for a lo­cal cur­rency at the right time.

Min­ing equip­ment sup­pli­ers and se­nior of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment as well as min­ing reg­u­la­tory bod­ies at­tended the meet­ing.

Last month, both pri­mary and small-scale min­ers de­liv­ered 3,92 tonnes of gold, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures from Fidelity

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.