Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S gold output has increased by 72 percent in the first seven months of the year to 20,8 tonnes compared to 12,1 tonnes in the same period last year, official figures show.
In an update on the state of the gold mining industry, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya attributed the upsurge in output of the yellow metal to incentives the monetary authorities has availed to miners.
The statistics also indicate that the country has generated over $600 million through exports.
“January to July gold output was 20,8 tonnes which is an increase of 72 percent compared to the same period last year when 12,1 tonnes were produced,” said Dr Mangudya.
In the 2018 monetary policy statement, the Central Bank Governor said that as part of strategies to enhance foreign currency inflows from tobacco and gold sectors, the monetary authority was increasing input finance facilities for the two commodities.
“In order to enhance foreign currency inflows from tobacco and gold production, the tobacco input finance facility has been increased from the $28 million disbursed in 2017 to $70 million, while the gold support facility has been increased from $74 million (disbursed to 255 entities) in 2017 to $150 million.”
In 2017, the gold support facility together with the periodic onsite monitoring by the Gold Mobilisation Technical Committee greatly contributed to improved gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners from 21,439 tonnes in 2016 to 24,843 tonnes with small-scale gold producers accounting for 53 percent of the total output.
This year the country targets 30 tonnes in gold production.
According to the World Gold Council’s latest gold demand report, the yellow metal’s demand on the international market was four percent lower year-on-year at 964 tonnes in the second quarter.
This was attributed to slower inflows into gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) created a weak comparison against the highs of last year, contributing to the lowest half-year demand since 2009.
Despite the fluctuation in gold demand on the international market, market analysts have urged local miners continue putting their shoulders on the wheel.
Zimbabwe holds the second largest gold reserves per square kilometre in the whole world with 13 million tonnes of gold underground but since Independence, the country has mined only 580 tonnes.