ZIMBABWE’S gold output for the month of April increased to 2,9 tonnes from 2,7 tonnes the previous month driven by a rise in deliveries from small-scale miners, Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) has said.

Data from the country’s sole gold buying unit, FPR, shows that the small-scale mining sector has maintained its production dominance over primary producers, as the sector produced 1,9 tonnes in April.

Large-scale miners delivered 983kg of the yellow metal. Between January and April 2018, cumulative gold output stood at 10,2 tonnes. In January this year, small-scale miners delivered 1,4 tonnes of gold, in February 1,1 tonnes and 1,8 in March. Primary producers delivered 1,2 tonnes in January, 931,7kg in February and 953,3kg in March.

Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation spokesperson, Dosman Mangisi attributed the upsurge in gold production in April to an improved business environment.

“Small scale miners are increasing output on a month to month basis due to a number of factors. Firstly, small-scale gold producers now shun the taking of ore to customer millers, preferring to do for themselves, what we call onsite milling which has more beneficiation,” he said in an interview yesterday.

“There is a high appetite from miners to use hammer mills, which are affordable. Again, the Fidelity loans are now starting to pay dividends.

“The majority of miners took loans to address the extraction part and also processing. Also, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) now allows artisanal gold miners to sell directly to Fidelity for gold weighing above five grammes.”

RBZ this year increased the gold support facility for the small-scale mining sector to $150 million from $74m disbursed last year. Mangisi said the manufacturers of mining equipment and suppliers had gone an extra mile by giving small-scale miners equipment at zero deposit, provided there was a payment plan.

“This is contributing to the high deliveries of gold by small-scale gold producers,” he said.

Last year, both primary and small-scale producers delivered 24,8 tonnes of gold to FRP up from 21,4 tonnes in 2016.

This year, the government is targeting 30 tonnes of the yellow metal. – NewsDay