Gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, Zimbabwe’s sole authorised buyer of bullion, jumped by 55,5 percent to 29,6 tonnes in 2021, figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) show.
The performance represents significant growth in one of Zimbabwe’s largest export earners, from the 19,05 tonnes formally delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners in 2020.
Gold exports for 2021, the RBZ said, are poised to surpass the 29,6 tonnes once the gold component from Platinum Group Metals is eventually included in the tally of final deliveries to Fidelity.
After scrapping taxes on small scale miners in June last year, the bank began timeous payments for deliveries, which were paid at the prevailing international gold prices.
Producers who deliver more than 20kg per month receive an extra 5 percent incentive, which has driven volumes growth.
The introduction of incentives and timeous payments has reduced smuggling of the precious mineral.
“The bank also commends Government for the Gold Incentive Scheme introduced in May 2021, which scheme has had a significant positive impact on gold deliveries to FGR.”
Large gold producers delivered 11,2 tonnes to Fidelity in 2021 whilst small-scale producers contributed 18,5 tonnes.
The highest tonnage of gold was delivered in the fourth quarter when small scale miners delivered a record 7,6 tonnes, whilst primary producers weighed in with 3,1 tonnes. Cumulatively, total deliveries for the quarter amounted to 10,7 tonnes.
Zimbabwe’s gold output has been on the ascend after it plummeted 31 percent to 19,1 tonnes in 2020 from 27,66 tonnes recorded during 2019 due to Covid-19 effects, delays in paying producers and reservations over perceived low foreign currency retention levels.
The Government has moved to provide equipment to be used by small scale miners through gold centres as part of broad measures to ensure the country attains attainment of US$4 billion gold export revenue. The Government intends to establish new gold centres following the sudden increase in output.
The gold centres are expected to provide basic equipment such as compressors and jackhammers as well as working capital to facilitate optimal production by small-scale miners.
In August last year, Cabinet approved proposals for the establishment of over 20 gold centres across the country by mid-2022.
Accordingly, memoranda of understanding will be signed with four investors who have been identified for the purpose of setting up the gold centres.
The investors will own 100 percent equity in the centres, while those who operate joint ventures with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will fully fund the operations of the centres in return for a 90 percent equity stake.
Some of the gold centres are expected to be established in Makaha, Odzi, Mount Darwin, Shamva, Mazowe and Silobela. – Herald