Measures to stimulate gold production

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The government has put in place a host of measures to boost gold production starting this year as it angles the sector to contribute significantly towards the attainment of national vision 2030, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando revealed this recently.

Zimbabwe’s gold output rose by 55.5 percent to 29.6 tonnes in 2021, with large-scale gold producers delivering 11.2 tonnes to Fidelity Gold Refinery (FGR), while small-scale producers contributed the remainder.

According to Chitando, the gold sector was targeting over 40 tonnes of gold in 2022 and deliberate mechanisms have been designed to boost the output by big mining companies whose contribution has been eclipsed by small-scale miners lately.

Chitando said some of the measures to drive production up included the opening up of new and viable gold mines, reopening old ones with huge potential as well as hastily clearing the backlog of mining title issuance.

Gold is a key foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe besides tobacco, accounting for over 70 percent of the nation’s annual foreign currency inflows.

Earlier this year Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr John Mangudya, said he projected gold output to surpass 2021 level to settle at over 35 tonnes this year.

But speaking on the sidelines of the monthly cleanup campaign in the Msasa Industrial area on March 4, 2022, Chitando expressed confidence the 2022 gold output level will likely surpass the 40 – tonne mark, adding his ministry was working closely with the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) to coordinate efforts and ramp up production of the yellow metal.

“We are hopeful that we will go way beyond 40 tonnes this year as we are working closely with Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and ZMF to promote production. We are also addressing the issue of backlog in the issuance of mining titles, opening of new mines, and reopening of old mines, these are all-inclusive measures to scale up production,” said Chitando.

He gave Shamva, Eureka, and Blanket mines as examples of mines that had the potential to significantly contribute to this year’s production. However, he called for more tolerance on some newly established mines as it takes more time to grow output.

“We have Shamva, which is working towards doing four tonnes per annum, Blanket Mine has finished re-deepening of the shaft, we have in Guruve Eureka Mine, which came into production so there are quite a number of projects taking place and you find that with time the contribution of big mines will also be going up going forward,” he added.

The country produced 19 tonnes of gold in 2020, down from 27.6 tonnes in 2019 and 33.2 tonnes in 2018.

2021 saw a strong recovery in production for some key minerals with gold output increasing by 50 percent, while exports increased to US$5, 2 billion which is 83 percent of aggregate national exports which is a huge number compared to US$3, 2 billion that was generated in 2020.

Mining industry report from late last year indicated that mining executives had intentions to ramp up production with a target of attaining average growth rates of between five percent for PGMs to as high as 32 percent from the diamond sector.

Chamber of Mines has, however, highlighted funding gaps and infrastructure challenges as some bottlenecks stalling the mining sector performance, which carries great potential to contribute to the country’s GDP.

The country has the potential to improve from mining growth levels witnessed in 2021 but it remains suppressed by challenges that include issues encompassing dilapidated railway network, roads as well as inconsistent power supply.