Dosman Mangisi Mining Correspondent—
SCORES of small-scale gold miners were left stranded when Fidelity Printers’ gold buying points reportedly ran out of cash on Friday and Saturday. Disgruntled small-scale miners in Gweru, Kwekwe and Kadoma expressed shock after they were told “there’s no money” for gold deliveries at buying points in their districts.
Fidelity is the country’s sole buyer of the yellow metal and runs several buying centres housed under ZB Bank branches countrywide. Turtle 54 Gold Mine chairman, Arthur Nkiwane, from Silobela told Business Chronicle he did not get his cash for gold deliveries on Friday.
“We were told there’s no cash at ZB Bank in Kwekwe and we don’t know why? We delivered our gold at Fidelity on Friday and Saturday,” he said. Pacific Gold Mine administrator, Chaderopa Chaderopa, from Shurugwi, who delivered his gold in Gweru, said:
“I got stranded when I learnt that there was no cash in Gweru after I deposited my gold. I had no cash with me as I had pinned hope on this sale. I had to borrow cash in order to fuel my car to go back to Shurugwi. If I had known I would have gone to Zvishavane”.
Fidelity Printers chief executive officer, Fredrick Kunaka, confirmed the cash shortage, which he said had affected only three districts. “We had challenges with banks when they didn’t have cash on Friday and Saturday. Three affected places are Kadoma, Kwekwe and Gweru. These buying points had cash challenges,” he said.
“We’re working flat out to normalise the situation. Gold miners must not panic as we seek to normalise operations with the banks. They must continue depositing their gold.”
Gold buying points for small-scale gold producers were established under ZB bank in order to create efficiency in the buying of gold from artisanal and small-scale miners who usually produce small volumes.
The payments are supposed to be made instantly upon delivery. Zimbabwe’s gold output is projected to reach 20 tonnes by the end of next year, with small scale miners contributing a huge chuck.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Thursday, while presenting the 2016 national budget, that the country would close 2015 at 18,7 tonnes of the yellow metal despite the weakening of the mineral prices on the international market.
Deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refineries from informal, small and large scale producers are up, with notable contribution towards the economy’s export earnings. Gold deliveries from small-scale miners, which were only 1.7 tonnes in 2013, registered 5.9 tonnes for the period January to October 2015. Since January last year, Fidelity was mandated to be the sole gold buyer in the country to curb smuggling.
Early this year, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya announced that the government was setting aside $50 million seed capital for accelerated gold production through Fidelity Printers. The government has targeted 30 tonnes of gold and $1.5 billion revenue in five years.