GOLD deliveries by large-scale producers declined by 7 percent in February to 751,4 kilogrammes from 808,6 kilogrammes in January, statistics from Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe show.
However, small-scale miners registered contrasting, but better fortunes as deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners rose 37,8 percent to 417,86 kilogrammes over the period under review.
Total gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners from the primary producers came in at 1 560 kilogrammes for the two months to February while deliveries from the small miners was 721 kilogrammes.
Overall, deliveries to Fidelity had risen 20 percent in January to 1111,62 kilograms in January compared to 926,7 kilogrammes in the comparative period of the prior year, statistics showed.
During the same period, deliveries from small-scale producers almost more than doubled to 303 kilograms from 142,5 kilograms on a year-on-year basis, as output from the sector keeps growing.
Gold production by small-scale miners has registered significant growth in recent years owing to various support initiatives of Government including funding support and favourable policy reforms.
Thirty percent of annual gold production in Zimbabwe is now coming from small-scale miners following the various Government support initiatives and decriminalisation of gold panning in the country.
On the contrary, gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers from large-scale producers have been trending downward, falling 8 percent year on year to 9,96 tonnes in 2014 from 10,86 tonnes in 2012.
Fidelity Printers resumed gold buying in 2013 after a five-year hiatus following liberalisation of gold buying in 2008. While buying points have been decentralised, Fidelity is the sole authorised buyer.
Year-to-date, Metallon’s How Mine was the single biggest producer with deliveries of 259 kilogrammes followed by Mwana Africa’s Freda Rebecca Mine which delivered 256 kilogrammes.
Other major producers in the period included Caledonia’s Blanket Mine at 197 kilogrammes, Shamva (129kg), Mazowe (57kg), owned by Metallon and Rio Tinto’s Renco at 117 kilogrammes.
In recognition of gold mining to economic growth, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya said the RBZ had set up a $50 million facility for accelerated gold production.
Mineral exports accounted for roughly over 51 percent of Zimbabwe’s total annual exports from 2009 to 2014.
In his second monetary policy statement Dr Mangudya said the facility would see the country ramping up output to . . . and achieving revenues of $1,5 billion from gold exports by 2020.
Under the arrangement, RBZ’s Fidelity Printers and Refiners will enter into an arrangement with Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to raise gold production to 30tons from 13 tonnes.
According to RBZ, gold deliveries are projected to grow by 7,1 percent to 15 tonnes this year, after the country last year surpassed the 10 tonnes required to rejoin the London bullion market.
Zimbabwe had been suspended from the London Bullion Market Association a few years ago at the height of economic instability when production fell below the threshold for LBMA members.