THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says the production of about four tonnes of gold a month could help the country’s economy become more self-sufficient.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Speaking to guests at a fundraising dinner hosted by Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha in Harare last week, RBZ governor John Mangudya said artisanal miners were critical to the economy.
“I am always proud when I talk about the artisanal miners of gold. In the month of July, the artisanal miners produced more gold than the large-scale producers at 1,2 tonnes which they produced in July versus 930 kilogrammes from large scale producers of gold, that is fantastic. Together, that is two tonnes in the month of July,” he said at the fundraising dinner to raise funds for Bimha’s constituency.
“That is what we call entrepreneurship. Two tonnes of gold, by the way, is about $80 million because a kilogramme of gold is equivalent to about $40 000, so two tonnes is $80 million. So, if we have two, four or whatever tonnes every month, then this economy will become self-sustaining.”
Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) is paying out $15 million on a weekly basis to over 300 000 artisanal gold miners.
Trends from the central bank point to more gold coming from artisanal miners.
The growth of artisanal miners has been reported as an improved gold output by these miners to increased mineral processing technology by its members.
Gold is the country’s main source of foreign exchange through exports followed by tobacco.
Gold deliveries to FPR hit 10 tonnes during the first half of 2017, growing 3,9% compared to 2016’s comparative period. As such, government expects more gold deliveries to FPR are expected in the second half of the year as producers continue to access the gold support facility.
The central bank expects gold deliveries to FPR to reach the targeted 25 tonnes by year-end.
In his mid-term monetary policy statement, Mangudya said the sector was benefitting from the $40 million Gold Support Facility availed by RBZ and administered through Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
As at mid-July 2017, about $30,2 million had been disbursed under the facility.