ZIMBABWE’S gold output for the nine months to September rose to 11 140kg as the country remains on course to meet an annualised target of 15 tonnes spurred by firming prices of bullion on the international market, official figures have shown.
Report by Bernard Mpofu, Chief Business Reporter
Latest figures released by the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ) showed that production of the precious metal continued to rise driven by increased production by major mining firms and small-scale miners.
According to CMZ, the entire mining sector — the country’s top foreign currency earner — grossed $1,36 billion with gold contributing $585 million. Platinum, another major foreign currency earner, contributed $36,4 million.
Last year, gold mines produced 12,993kg of bullion.
The upsurge came at a time the government projects annual gold output to rise to 15 tonnes as the country seeks re-entry into the London Bullion Market (LBM) after it was disqualified when production dropped to an all-time low of three tonnes.
At peak in 1999, Zimbabwe produced 27 tonnes of bullion.
The prestigious LBM requires gold producers to reach an annual output of 10 tonnes to gain membership. International mineral prices have been fluctuating since January.
In the second half of the year, prices surged as investors sought a hedge from Europe’s debt crisis.
In its latest month review, the African Development Bank (AfDB) attributed a rebound in the gold mining sector to compliance by some mining firms to the country’s equity law compelling foreign-owned companies to sell 51% stake to locals.
This, the AfDB said, had resulted in the firms renewing the interest and focusing on increasing output.
Early this month, Blanket Mine, a unit of Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Caledonia Mining Corporation, increased its gold output for the third quarter ending September to 12 919 ounces, the highest in nearly a century, driven by firm bullion prices on the international market.