Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s gold output for the first seven months of the year has reached 12 tonnes up from 10 tonnes produced during the same period last year.
The improved gold output is due to the incentives the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has introduced.
In March 2016, the central bank introduced the performance-related export bonus scheme of up to five percent to enhance productivity and promote exports with the overall aim of lubricating the economy.
As part of efforts to bolster production of the yellow metal, the Government through RBZ availed a $40 million Gold Development Initiative meant to support small-scale miners with a 10 percent loan to buy mining equipment.
The small-scale sector continues to grow in its contribution to gold production accounting for about 45 percent of total deliveries.
Zimbabwe is expecting gold deliveries to the country’s sole gold buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), to reach the targeted 25 tonnes by year end.
In June, data from FPR showed that small-scale miners increased gold deliveries to 1 045 kilogrammes from 874.9 kilogrammes in May surpassing monthly output by primary producers for the first time in six months this year.
Between January and May, primary producers have been dominating monthly gold production statistics.
Both small-scale miners and large mining houses in June produced 1 954 kilogrammes.
In January, primary producers delivered 922.2 kilogrammes of gold while small-scale miners delivered 713.5 kilogrammes.
In February, both primary producers and small-scale miners’ deliveries declined to 768.3 kilogrammes and 686.6 kilogrammes respectively largely due to the heavy rains which clogged most of the mines as the country received incessant heavy rains.
In March, primary producers delivered 862.5 kilogrammes while small-scale miners produced 682.8 kilogrammes.
Large mining houses in March delivered 866.9 kilogrammes of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners while small-scale players in the sector delivered 622.3 kilogrammes.
The following month saw primary gold producers increasing output to 1 045.3 kilogrammes while small-scale miners produced 874.9 kilogrammes.
In July, large and small-scale miners produced a combined total of 2 091.1 kilogrammes of the yellow metal and of that figure 1 127.5 kilogrammes came from small-scale miners.