Zimbabwe’s gold output last year shot up by 18 percent to 24.8 tonnes with the bulk delivered by the small-scale mining sector.
Statistics from Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the country’s sole gold buyer, show that in 2017, small-scale miners last year delivered 13.2 tonnes of gold while primary producers produced about 11.7 tonnes.
Data from Fidelity Printers also show that during the period under review, combined gold output by the primary producers and the small-scale miners on quarterly basis has been on an upward trajectory.
In the first quarter of 2017, the primary producers and small-scale miners delivered 4.6 tonnes while in the second quarter the figure stood at 5.4 tonnes. The miners produced 7.2 tonnes in the third quarter while the last quarter of the period under review recorded the highest output of 7.6 tonnes.
The Fidelity data also shows that on a monthly basis since June up to the end of the year, the small-scale mining sector has been producing more than the large mining houses.
In an interview, the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) spokesperson Dosman Mangisi whose organisation represents the interests of the small-scale miners said:
“The improved performance by the small-scale mining sector is largely attributed to loans some small-scale miners have accessed from Fidelity Printers to procure and enhance the use of onsite technology.”
Last year, the Government through Fidelity Printers and Refiners launched a $40 million gold development initiative to facilitate small-scale miners access resources to procure mining equipment of their choice from local manufacturers.
“As a federation, we are encouraging the Government to continue giving a special ear to the concerns raised by the small-scale miners so that gold production by the sector is enhanced,” said Mangisi.
As part of initiatives to increase gold output, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe also introduced a five percent export incentive scheme.
In June, small-scale miners delivered 1 045 kilogrammes of the yellow metal while output from primary producers stood at 908 kg.
In July, output by small scale miners stood at 1.1 tonnes of gold while large scale miners delivered 963.6 kg. The small-scale miners in August improved their gold output to 1.47 tonnes while primary producers were at 1.1 tonnes. In September gold production by primary producers declined to a tonne while the small-scale mining industry also experienced a reduction in output delivering 1.45 tonnes. Primary producers delivered close to 1.1 tonnes of gold in October against 1.7 tonnes by the small-scale miners. In November, small-scale miners produced about 1.3 tonnes while large-scale producers delivered a tonne and in December the small-scale players delivered about 1.5 tonnes compared to a tonne that was produced by their counterparts, the primary producers.