Zimbabwe seeks to join London bullion market

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GoldBarplusbeads REUTERS Gold bars and granules. File photo: Reuters

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe is seeking readmission to the London Bullion Market Association after changes in regulations allowed gold producers to increase output.

It’s “realistic” that the country be included on the LBMA’s delivery list, Ian Saunders, chairman of gold producers at the nation’s Chamber of Mines, said today by telephone.

Zimbabwe produced 14 metric tons (408,000 ounces) of gold in 2013, exceeding the 10-ton threshold for LBMA entry.

Readmission to the London market, the biggest centre for gold trading according to the LBMA, would increase Zimbabwe’s ability to sell to global buyers.

The country dropped out of the organisation in 2008 after production slumped as a result of electricity and chemical shortages and delayed payments from the central bank, which bought all the metal produced locally.

Producers are now permitted to sell their gold independently, allowing them to get paid directly in US dollars.

Companies have also started importing their own power, meaning mining operations face fewer disruptions.

Output remains half what it was in the late 1990s.

Zimbabwe, ruled by President Robert Mugabe since 1980, produced 27.7 tons of gold in 1999, according to the US Geological Survey. - Bloomberg News

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