Gold deliveries surge

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Gold deliveries were up 22% in the first quarter of the year to 3 536kg from the same period in 2014 after small-scale miners saw their output more than doubling, latest statistics show.

BY NDAMU SANDU

In the same quarter last year, 2 897kg of the yellow metal were delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the country’s sole gold buyer, according to statistics from Fidelity and Chamber of Mines.

Small-scale miners saw their deliveries firming 111% to 1 161kg from 550kg in 2014. Primary producers’ output increased by 1% to 2 375kg from 2 348kg in 2014.

“The increase on small-scale deliveries was due to increased monitoring which started in the second half of 2014,” Fidelity said.

Average gold price in the quarter at $1 219 was 6% lower than the one obtaining in the same period in 2014.

The increase in deliveries comes as Fidelity has rolled out a number of gold mobilisation initiatives.

Some of the measures that have been instituted include the appointment of custom millers and private mining claim owners as gold buying agents to increase the coverage of gold buying and enhance miners’ selling convenience.

Fidelity has widened the range of gold buying agents. This means that it will now be able to buy all gold offered by miners without the previous minimum quantity restriction of 5g.

The five-gramme threshold was set due to Fidelity’s inability to correctly determine the gold content in quantities less than 5g.

The company said such a measure had resulted in “significant improvement in gold flow through the formal channel from July 2014 although there is room for improvement, especially through stakeholders’ collaborative effort”.

In the medium term, gold was projected to be the mainstay of the economy. Under the $50 million accelerated gold production initiative, gold output was projected to hit the 30 tonne mark by 2020, generating revenue of $1,5 billion.

As part of measures to boost output, Fidelity Printers and Refiners will also enter into an agreement with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation for the establishment of a special purpose vehicle to exploit gold under Fidelity’s ZimGold.

The vehicle will focus on harnessing low-hanging gold resources with particular emphasis on alluvial and prolific reef deposits supported by bulk open pit mining to enhance gold deliveries.

Gold production has been on the increase from four tonnes in 2008 to 13,9 tonnes in 2014.