Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
FIDELITY Printers and Refiners has so far disbursed $30 million to 179 small-scale miners across the country under the $40 million Gold Development Initiative.
Towards the end of last year, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced that it had launched a $40 million Gold Development Initiative aimed at availing small-scale miners with funding to boost production in the sector.
Speaking during the just ended Mine Entra expo in Bulawayo on Friday, Fidelity Printers and Refiners manager responsible for refineries operations, Mr David Mpofu, urged small-scale miners to apply for the loan under the Gold Development Initiative.
“We’ve disbursed to date $30 million of the $40 million under the Gold Development Initiative and 179 small-scale miners have successfully applied for the funding under this facility,” he said.
“If there is something that is missing from your documents, for instance, if the collateral that you provide doesn’t cover the amount that you want to borrow, then obviously we will have to get back to you for you to revise your figures downwards.
“As we start to analyse your application, there are some minimum requirements that we want. What has been delaying some of the disbursements were issues to do with collateral and also registration of the ground as we also want to know what value is on the ground.”
Mr Mpofu said the approval of some of the loan applications has been delayed due to collateral issues among others but said his organisation was working on clearing the backlog.
He said as a result of the Gold Development Initiative, gold deliveries at Fidelity Printers have increased by over 400 kilogrammes.
“In June this year, gold production was 9.8 tonnes with small-scale gold producers producing 4.6 tonnes, which translates to 47 percent while primary producers contributed 53 percent. We are anticipating that by the end of this year, the contribution from small-scale miners will surpass that of the primary producers,” said Mr Mpofu.
The Government believes that given an improved operating environment in 2017, small-scale producers will this year achieve about 12 tonnes from 9.8 tonnes in 2016.
The gold support facility is a revolving fund supported by gold sales and the Government is working on additional incentives that include scrapping of royalties.
Earlier on in his address, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Fred Moyo urged the small-scale miners to ensure they register their operations.
“The informal way of operation not only provides difficulties to account, not only for mineral production but also provides difficulties in the provision of requisite technical and financial assistance that can boost production and sustenance of mining operations.
“Hence small-scale miners are encouraged to formalise their operations to assist Government to render the necessary services and funding to them,” he said.
Some of the funding being initiated by Government includes the small-scale miners’ facility of $50 million to be supported by Sakunda Energy.
The Government is also pursuing other funding mechanisms under the China XCMG loan facility and the South Korean loan facility.