Zim gold production up 50pc

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s total gold deliveries surged by nearly 50 percent to 1 546,16 kilogrammes (kg) in March 2015, from 1 040,49 kg recorded in March 2014, figures from the African Development Bank (AfDB) reveal.

In its monthly economic review for Zimbabwe, the multilateral lender said the record production was driven by an increase in small scale miner’s deliveries.

“Deliveries by both primary producers and small scale miners increased by 20,8 percent and  42,3 percent to 969, 64 kg and 576,53 kg, respectively during the same period. On a month-on-month basis, total gold deliveries increased by 32,2 percent to 1 546,16 kg in March 2015 compared to February 2015,” the bank said.

Monthly deliveries by primary producers increased by 29 percent to 969,63 kg in March 2015, while deliveries by small-scale producers increased by 37,97 percent to 576,5 kg in March 2015.

“Despite the increase in gold deliveries, declining international gold price since January 2015 is a cause for concern as it reduces the overall value of gold,” said AfDB, adding that volatility in precious metals prices has remained a challenge for economies dependent on mining.

Meanwhile, gold deliveries from small scale miners accounted for 60 percent of gold deliveries to government owned gold buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Fidelity), according to statistics obtained from the Mines ministry.
Thirty percent of the country’s gold production is now coming from the artisanal and small scale producers.

This comes as RBZ governor, John Mangudya, in his monetary policy statement (MPS), projected gold deliveries are set to increase by 7,1 percent to 15 tonnes this year from 13 899 tonnes recorded in 2014.

He said gold deliveries to Fidelity had increased by 10 percent from 12 661 tonnes in 2013 to 13 899 tonnes in 2014.

“Over the period 2012 to 2014, the country witnessed a decline in deliveries from large scale gold producers to Fidelity 1 086 tonnes in 2012 to about 9,96 tonnes, in 2014, a decline of about 8,3 percent,” he said.

The central bank has also mobilised $50 million for an accelerated gold production programme that will see the country realising at least $1,5 billion from gold exports by 2020.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), said total mining royalties collections for the year ended December 30, 2014 exceeded target by 10 percent, amounting to $191,6 million against a target of $175 million.

Although Zimbabwe refined enough to be reaccredited into the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) in 2014 –minimum of 10 tonnes per year – deliveries are still lagging behind its peak of 27 tonnes recorded in the late 1990s, which is almost twice the current production.

Zimbabwe was disqualified from LBMA in 2008 due to successive declines in gold production triggered by economic challenges and poor economic policies which resulted in many gold mining companies closing.

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