INTERNATIONAL - Zimbabwe will not meet a gold production target of 40 tons it had set for 2019 because of various factors affecting miners, a government official has said. The government had set the target after an encouraging 2018 when production reached 33.2 tons against a target of 30 tons.
However, there has been a drop in deliveries to the country's sole official gold buyer - Fidelity Printers and Refiners - because of the challenges confronting miners.
Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Polite Kambamura told the government-controlled Herald newspaper Thursday that the 2019 target was now beyond reach.
"Currently, we are not on course to meet the gold target; what we are recording is not what we were expecting," Kambamura said. He said deliveries had been affected by power outages and other concerns by miners which were not being addressed. "We have several issue like power outages and complaints from miners, especially small scale miners, that we never dealt with diligently and I think that contributed to the drastic fall in gold production," he said.
"I think going forward we might need to have dedicated power lines to mines." Kambamura said one of the issues that demoralized gold miners was the foreign currency retention threshold. Government reviewed downwards the threshold from 70/30 percent to 55/45 percent.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation spokesman Dosman Mangisi said most miners were affected by the changes in the thresholds.
"The reviewing downwards of the thresholds impacted negatively on the mining sector because it made it difficult for miners to procure supplies, plant and equipment, most of which is imported," said Mangisi.
He said miners wanted to take advantage of the Mining Indaba set for the Midlands Province city of Gweru in November to highlight their problems to responsible authorities.
"The meeting will be opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is expected to have face to face interaction with stakeholders in the sector," said Mangisi.
"We are indeed looking forward to coming up with long lasting solutions that will spur growth in the mining sector and increase production in the process."
The government's vision is to ensure that gold deliveries reach 100 tons per year by 2023. Due to the government's failure to plug leakages, especially in the small-scale gold mining sector, where players are selling gold on the black market where prices are attractive.
Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (Zimbabwe) in March said the country was losing about $200 million worth of gold every year, especially in the small-scale mining sector where players were selling it on the more attractive black market. Small-scale miners account for more than 60 percent of gold deliveries to Fidelity, which is an arm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.