HARARE – Small scale gold miners produced a record 13 176 kgs in 2017, beating their large scale counterparts for the first time in seven years, latest figures show.
The small scale miners have since set an ambitious target of 18 tonnes of the precious mineral this year as they ride on the back of government support through among others, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s $40 million Gold Development Facility (GDF).
The GDF assists small scale gold producers with access to key inputs and equipment. Gold is the country’s top mineral export and foreign currency earner. In 2017, small scale miners saw output surge 36 percent from, 9 680 kgs the previous year.
“For the first time since 2009, output from large scale gold producers declined in 2017, compared to their counterparts in the small scale sector,” said the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ). During the period, large scale producers saw yellow metal production drop one percent to 11 668 kgs.
The country’s overall gold production was 26 495 kg, up 14 percent compared to 2016 and is envisaged to shoot by 14 percent in 2018. The Chamber of Mines said large scale gold producers were hit by high operational costs which also impacted on their output during the period.
“There is need for convergence of treatment of large scale and small scale gold producers as both producers face the same price (market) while costs are largely higher for large scale producers, the CMZ said.
The chamber said gold producers must be accorded exporter status, which allows them to have nostro accounts cover to facilitate critical input imports.
Foreign currency shortages continue to hit on the performance of companies in all sectors of the economy.
The CMZ said inadequate capital, high cost structures, high electricity tariff, sub-optimal fiscal charges and power disruptions were among top challenges the gold production industry was facing that needed to be addressed. – New Ziana