GOLD deliveries soared to almost 14,7 tonnes in the first eight months of the year, driven by a strong performance by small-scale miners, statistics reveal. Small-scale miners, who largely use rudimentary equipment to haul the precious metal, have been playing second fiddle to large-scale gold producers but have since turned on the style, and have delivered 7,2 tonnes since January.
Large-scale miners have so far delivered just over 7,4 tonnes to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) in the period under review. This means gold deliveries have risen by 4,8 tonnes between June and August this year. In the half year, 9,9 tonnes of gold had been delivered to FPR, with large-scale miners accounting for 53 percent of the deliveries while the small-scale miners contributed 47 percent. The performance thrusts the country on a firm footing to achieve its ambitious target of 26 tonnes.
Deliveries in the first half of the year were stifled by incessant rains which hit the country in the first quarter, resulting in 54 percent of the 9,9 tonnes being delivered in Q2. FPR has already predicted increased output from small-scale miners in the second half of the year. Small-scale miners benefited from the $40 million Gold Development Initiative Fund.
Said FPR general manager Mr Fradreck Kunaka in a recent interview: “Despite low production levels in the first half of 2017, the deficit will be significantly reduced in the second half of the year to end the year at the set target or marginally lower than target.”
From a peak output of 27,1 tonnes in 1999, Zimbabwe’s official gold deliveries progressively fell to 3,6 tonnes in 2008, and are rising again, reaching 23 tonnes last year.