Zim targets 35 tonnes gold output in 2019

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LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

Zimbabwe is targeting gold deliveries of 35 tonnes this year after last year deliveries closed at 33,28tonnes, a figure which failed to meet the revised 2018 target of 34 tonnes.

Last year, gold contributed over 65 percent of the country’s mineral export earnings leaving the mineral as the highest forex earner ahead of tobacco.

During that same period gold earned $1,7 billion against tobacco’s $882 million.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya told Business Times that the central bank would continue to give incentives to miners to increase productivity.

“This year we have set a gold output target of 35 tonnes due to a number of facilities that we have put in place for both primary and secondary gold producers to drive output upwards. Last year, we set an initial target of 30 tonnes of gold but we ended up achieving 33,3 tonnes by December 31 2018 and the same can happen again.

“We are cognisant of the fact that most gold producers are facing forex shortages but we will do our best in providing forex to ensure that they continue to increase production. But as we speak most miners are already benefitting from the gold venture facility and gold mobilisation facility…,” said Mangudya.

He said Government put in place the $100 million gold sector venture fund to avoid the closure of some of mines like what had happened to RioZim late last year.

Mangudya said the 33,28 tonnes gold output would have been surpassed had some mines not closed in October and November.

Gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners for 2018 hit a record 33, 28 tonnes up from 24, 8 tonnes in 2017. Small scale miners put up a strong performance at 21,7 tonnes, while primary producers accounted for the remaining 11, 5 tonnes.

Some argued that primary producers gave most of their gold to small scale miners to get 70 percent of the revenues in United States dollars rather than 55 percent retention in forex set aside for the primary producers.

In terms of incentives, small scale miners also get higher percentages than the large scale miners.

The 2018 haul is setting a strong tone towards the attainment of the 100 tonnes per year target within the next five years.

The mining sector, alongside key sectors among them agriculture and tourism, should play an integral part towards the attainment of Vision 2030 with mining alone expected to generate $12 billion worth of exports annually.

The production and growth of the economy is anchored on production and the gold sector provides the country with key contribution to Government, through Fidelity Printers, the sole gold buying unit in the country has also increased its outreach to miners and decentralised buying centres in addition to relaxing gold selling terms and easy payment of miners for their produce.

The gold sector helps the country in ensuring liquidity in the economy.