Munyaradzi Musiiwa and Lovemore Zigara
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has conceded the country will not be able to meet its target gold output for this year owing to various reasons but chief among them, incessant rains. In an interview, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Engineer Fred Moyo, said Government is reviewing the target downwards to 24 tonnes from 28 tonnes.
Eng Moyo said gold production in the country had been adversely affected by various factors that include foreign currency rationing, incessant rains and other market forces. Earlier this year Government gave Midlands, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland West and Central Provinces who have vast gold deposits, a target annual output that would contribute towards the achievement of the 28 tonnes target. The four provinces were expected to contribute 70 percent of the target gold output.
“This year we are unable to meet our target gold output of 28 tonnes. Gold production has been affected by various things that include foreign currency rationing, incessant rains and other market forces. Early this year production was affected by incessant rains that the country received during the summer. Most mines are shallow and were affected by water while foreign currency rationing has seen most miners failing to import different mining inputs and equipment.
“We were expecting Midlands, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland West and Central Provinces to contribute two thirds of our gold output. We now have a target of 24 tonnes of gold this year. We have given these provinces each a target output,” he said. Eng Moyo said Government, however, was looking forward to generating $ 3 billion from the mining sector after minerals like nickel and chrome surpassed their targets.
He said the $20 million loan facility availed by Government came in handy in bolstering production in the mining sector. Zimbabwe Miner Federation (ZMF) chief executive officer, Wellington Takavarasha, said the country had also failed to meet the target gold output due to leakages such as side marketing and illegal gold mining. Mr Takavarasha said artisanal miners were producing close to 2 tonnes of gold per month half of which was being sold on the black market. He said Government was losing more than 800 kg of gold per month to the black market.
“The country is facing serious financial challenges and due to the shortage of foreign currency most miners have resorted to side marketing and the black market. For instance we have more than a million artisanal gold miners in the country and their production capacity is close to two tonnes. Due to the criminalisation of gold panning most artisanal miners shun Fidelity and prefer the black market. The country is losing 800kg of gold to the black market because they buy using hard currency,” he said.