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Gold deliveries down 16% in 4 months

File pic: Gold deposits

GOLD deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPP) were down nearly 16% during the first four months of the year to 8,57 tonnes compared to the prior period owing to rains, NewsDay Business can report.

During the comparable four-month period last year, gold deliveries totalled 10,17 tonnes, according to latest statistics from FPP.

At yesterday’s gold prices ranging from US$57,89 to US$61,11 per gram, the deliveries for the first four months of the year translates to total pay-outs to gold miners of between US$496,16 million to US$523,76 million, respectively, by FPP.

The decrease in gold deliveries comes at a time when production is expected to reach 40 tonnes by year end, with Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya sticking to that target.

Gold production totalled 33 tonnes last year, up 5% from nearly 31,5 tonnes in 2021.

FPR acting general manager Peter Magaramombe attributed the decline to incessant rains which disrupted production in the period under review, but said going forward, the figures will improve.

“Going into the future, I think somehow we are going to recover especially when the conditions are improving,” he said.

According to ZMF, the apex government body that represents small-scale gold miners, artisanal miners contribute 60% of the total production in the country.

“As the small-scale miners, we are still within our forecast as far as the gold output and deliveries are concerned to Fidelity. Zimbabwe Miners Federation kindly wants you to note that the period December, January, February, and March are usually bad periods for us in as much as gold production is concerned simply because we were inundated with incessant rains within that period,” Rushwaya told NewsDay Business.

“And, as small-scale miners, due to the limitations we have insofar as mechanisation is concerned, we are unable to produce as much as we want that would be expected of us during that period of the year. As you well know, we had heavy rains during that period. We don’t have equipment like dewatering pumps and, as such, this has adversely affected our production.”

A dewatering pump, also known as a centrifugal pump, can be installed anywhere water extraction is required.

This pump is useful whenever water needs to be removed, including construction sites, tunnels, mines, and structures.

Depending on the medium, a specific dewatering pump must be utilised.

“But going forward, starting from the month of May, you will be actually pleased to note that our gold production will increase exponentially,” Rushwaya said.

Commenting on the estimated projections for the next four-month period, May to August, she said: “Just bear in mind, whatever was produced last year we are actually going to do an additional quarter to what was produced last year. But, towards the last quarter of the year, we would have probably managed to cover the gap of the loss that we would have run into between December and April.

“So it is because of the rains that we could not produce what we would have expected of us but now that rains are beyond us. We are now focusing on doing more production and actually getting to the 40 tonne target for this year.”

The formalisation of artisanal and small-scale miners’ operations is a top government priority, thus the 2023 National Budget is funding the opening of gold service centres with the goal of having five operational by year's end.

The hubs will be situated in regions with a large concentration of small-scale miners, making the processing and sale of gold more accessible.

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