ZIMBABWE expects nearly double growth in gold production to 60 tonnes by next year driven by a cocktail of initiatives the country is implementing to enhance production and delivery of bullion through formal channels, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has said.
The anticipated growth represents a 42 percent increase from the 35 tonnes targeted this year. Gold is the single largest foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe, which realised a record US$9,7 billion in foreign currency inflows last year.
Minister Chitando revealed this yesterday at the official sendoff of personnel to three of the country’s provinces where the officers will conduct the second gold mobilisation exercise which entails monitoring and surveillance exercise.
According to Minister Chitando, the interventions were part of the gold development strategy and quarterly gold mobilisation programmes being pursued by the ministry with the intention to enhance gold deliveries to the Fidelity Gold Refiners (FGR).
The mining industry is expected to play a pivotal role in the attainment of the country’s vision of being an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030 as enshrined in the National Development Strategy1 (NDS1).
He, however, said plugging of side markets was key to realising this target.
“Gold has remained one of the major foreign currency earners in Zimbabwe and is expected to contribute US$4 Billion to the US$12 Billion milestone. In this regard, our envisioned output for the gold sector is a sustainable annual gold production of 60 tonnes of gold by 2023,” said Minister Chitando.
Gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refiners in the seven months to July 2022 grew by nearly 50 percent to 18, 94 tonnes sustaining an upward trajectory in the year in comparison to 12, 8 tonnes delivered in the same period in 2021.
Primary producers delivered 966 kilogramess, a 15, 4 percent upgrade on the last month.
The buoyancy in the gold sector performance has lately been spurred by favorable commodity pricing structure on the global scale since last year.
This is a marked increase in gold deliveries particularly from small-scale miners with deliveries of 6.75 tonnes in 2021 to 12.5 tonnes representing an 85 percent increase.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube in his 2022 mid-term review and supplementary budget indicated that the government had reserved US$10 million for the establishment of gold centres in each province.
This is to enhance small-scale miners’ performance with an ultimate objective to deliver three tonnes of gold per month.
On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has hinted at facilitating a loan facility to capacitate existing and new gold mining ventures so as to increase production.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive Wellington Takavarasha attributed the growth in gold output to fruitful engagements between players in the sector and government departments.
He said cooperation with big mining operations like Freda Rebecca through tributing of small scale mining operations, had led to improvement in gold production.
“Improvement in gold output has been driven mainly by growing linkages between ZMF and the government, this has significantly enhanced the ease of doing business with regards to small-scale miners operations.
“On the other hand gold prices are going up, it is at its all-time high which is favorable to the sector,” said Mr Takavarasha.
However, despite the increase in gold delivery, it is widely believed by stakeholders that these deliveries fall short of possible gold produced in Zimbabwe during this period due to rampant side marketing, which calls for enhanced compliance enforcement in the sector.
As part of measures to enhance growth of the gold sector going forward Minister Chitando said there was need to formalise the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector, resuscitate closed mines, open new ground for pegging, capacitate small-scale miners through various initiatives development and implementation of the Gold Development Policy and establishment of gold service centers.