Zimbabwe looks set to achieve its 26 tonnes gold production targets for 2018 after receiving deliveries amounting to 10,3t in the first four months of this year, according to latest figures from Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Fidelity).
Deliveries from small scale miners accounted for about 60 percent at 6,2 tonnes compared to 4,1t from primary producers.
On a monthly basis, gold output stood at 2,6 t in January, dropping to 2,1t in February, but shot to 2,7t and 2,9 in March and April, respectively.
Primary producers recorded their peak output in the period under review in January at 1,2t while small scale miners hit their highest of 1,9t in April. Their lowest output in the period under review was 1,1t was recorded in February.
Gold deliveries are generally lower in the first quarter of the year due to rains, which mostly affect production by small scale miners. Output is expected to improve as the year progresses.
At current performance, the country stands a chance to reach its 1999 gold production peak of 27,1t. The country’s gold production suffered due to lack of funding at the height of the economic crisis to record a low of 3t annual gold output in 2008.
Despite the bullish performance of the gold sector, fears remain foreign currency shortages that continue to delay importation of key spares and inputs across industries could hamper the sector.
However, Government has devised a mechanism for miners to retain part of their foreign currency earnings in order to keep the key industry thriving.
Gold remains one of Zimbabwe’s major exports, raking in as much as $11 billion between 1980 and 2016, according to central bank figures.
The gold mining sector is seen growing further on account of Government support through a number of multimillion dollar facilities for inputs and export incentives as well as improved investment from the private sector.
The largest producer Metallon Gold in March said it plans to grow output sevenfold over the next two years on account of investments in new technology.
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed miner RioZim, also one of the top primary gold producers, recently said it is focused on an accelerated exploration and development programme, which is aimed at identifying new mining areas and enhancing flexibility in the management of its ore grade.
The sector is benefiting from good prices on the global market.
In the period under review, prices for gold averaged $1 331,53 and $1 334,74 per ounce.
The price has remained steady, improving marginally each month since January.