HomeLocal NewsGold output soars as new mines begin production

Gold output soars as new mines begin production

GOLD deliveries for the first 10 months of 2021 stood at 22 tonnes, representing a significant rise from 16 tonnes registered during the same period last year, figures from Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) showed this week.

FPR, the country’s sole buyer of gold, said large-scale miners contributed nine tonnes of bullion during the period, trailing output from small-scale producers that shipped 13 tonnes of gold.

Gold mines produced 997,6 kilogrammes in January, as floods hit production after high rainfall, before surging to 1,17 tonnes in February, and 1,8 tonnes in March.

In April, bullion output dropped slightly to 1,38 tonnes but increased to 1,66 tonnes in May before surging to 2,92 tonnes in June. July’s output was pegged at 2,82 tonnes, before rising to 3,17 tonnes and 3 tonnes in September and October, according to the report.

Government in August approved the establishment of 20 gold centres as it geared to facilitate a massive production ramp up.

This was after Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced that 10 companies would take control of FPR for US$49 million.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, Gold Miners Association of Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Irvine Chinyenze, said output had been encouraging in the past year.

“The figures are very encouraging. If you consider all other variables, it is a reflection of what is obtaining on the ground. It means that we are getting serious. That’s why deliveries are coming in and that’s why the deliveries have improved quite significantly,” Chinyenze said.

“We are also seeing a lot of effort from stakeholders regarding the sector. The government is doing its beat. There are also other players in the sector, who are also doing their bit, particularly in terms of investments.

“We have seen quite a number of partnerships and joint ventures in the small-scale mining sector. For a long period of time we have been worried over lack of mechanisation in the sector.

“We are not yet there but strides have been made towards mechanisation of the sector. We have seen a marked improvement in terms of production. We are excited. If it continues like this, it means there are better times ahead,” he said.

Economist Victor Bhoroma said there had been a marked increase in formal gold production ever since the central bank announced changes in FPR ownership.

However, he was worried that benefits of the changes might not trickle down to every Zimbabwean.

“It seems there is alignment in terms of payments and prices. The improvement in gold production allows the country to benefit from the run in commodity prices and improve foreign currency earnings,” Bhoroma said.

“This improves the country’s balance of trade position. The benefit to ordinary citizens is quite insignificant at the present moment due to our policy misalignment.”

In an interview hosted by the Zimbabwe Independent on Alpha Media Holdings (AMH)’s Heart & Soul Television last week, Mines and Mining Development minister Winston Chitando said the outlook for gold mining was positive.

He said investments into key operations like the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed conglomerate Padenga Holdings’ Eureka and Central and Pickstone gold mines will drive the industry in 2021.

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