Gold yields $692m in six months

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Michael Tome

HARARE – Gold continues to be one of Zimbabwe’s leading exports, earning over $692 million in the six months to June 2018.

This is in line with country’s goal of realising at least $1, 5 billion from gold exports by 2020.

Zimbabwe is aiming to reach 30 tonnes of gold this year and has already surpassed the 24 tonnes mark, which was realised last year.

According to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) statistics for the period under review, more than $692 million worth of the precious mineral had been exported, translating to 28 percent of the country’s total export earnings.

Platinum exports were also significant, hitting $567 million and thereby contributing 23 percent to exports.

Ferro chromium and chromium ores earned $136 million (5 percent contribution to exports) and $54 million (2 percent), respectively while industrial diamonds earned just above $40 million, contributing just 1 percent to the country’s exports.

The latest figures show that small-scale miners continue to dominate the gold mining sector as they accounted for 64 percent of the 17,3 tonnes that were delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refineries by June this year.

The 17,3 tonne mark that was reached in the first half of the year is 73 percent more than 10 tonnes that were realised in the comparable period in 2017.  

The increase in deliveries is attributed to the $150 million Gold Development Fund, which has so far been disbursed by the central bank to small-scale miners coupled with strict monitoring systems by the authorities.

“Joint efforts by Government and the (Central) Bank to increase gold production and mobilisation, particularly from small scale miners are bearing fruit, as evidenced by the phenomenal growth in gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR), where 17,3 tonnes of gold were delivered during the first half of the year, compared to about 10 tonnes over the same period in 2017.

“The interventions, through the $150 million Gold Development Fund to assist small scale gold miners, coupled with joint compliance monitoring by the Gold Monitoring Committee, a collaborative effort between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development,” said the RBZ.

Furthermore there was significant increases recorded in diamond, chrome and coal output during the first half of 2018.

Diamond output in the same period stood at 1,904 million carats, considerably higher than the 1,388 million carats produced during the first half of 2017.

Chrome ore output also increased to 503 879 tonnes in the second quarter from 411 446 tonnes recorded in the first quarter of 2018 which is 43 percent above the production realised during the same period in 2017.

The bulk of the country’s exports comprise among others gold, flue-cured tobacco, ferrochrome, nickel, chrome, and diamonds, altogether contributing about 88 percent of export earnings for the period January to June 2018.

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