TINASHE MAKICHI IN BULAWAYO
A fund introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to capacitate qualifying small-scale gold miners, has to date, disbursed $103 million out of the promised $150 million . The $150 million kitty, Gold Development Fund (GDF), is meant to raise output among small scale gold miners.
Fidelity Printers and Refiners head of the GDF Mathew Chidavaenzi told the Mine Entra Expo 2018 in Bulawayo that there has been increased appetite towards the fund and GDF has been instrumental in providing the funding which is currently at 10 percent interest for 36 months.
“The Gold fund has to date disbursed $103 million towards miners and only 11 percent of that funding has been taken up by women, with 47 percent going towards men and the rest going towards businesses.
Zimbabwe has massive gold potential as it is sitting on 13 million tonnes resource which if exploited can generate trillions of United States Dollars,” Chidavaenzi said.
A combination of favourable international gold prices and the impact of the GDF saw Zimbabwe hauling 24,8 tonnes of gold last year more than the 23 tonnes delivered in 2016.
It is expected that in the near future the GDF will become self-sustaining as the first beneficiaries start making repayments.
RBZ is understood to have committed to supporting the GDF going forward, to enable miners to ramp up production.
The central bank increased the fund to $150 million from $80 million last year to ramp up production, thereby increasing exports, employment and earn so much needed foreign currency. The facility continues to motivate small scale miners and more needs to be done to maintain the current trajectory.
Chidavaenzi also noted that there was funding of close to $20 million