By Michael Magoronga
The country is likely to miss out on the 40-tonne target for gold this year due to a drop in deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
Government settled for the 40 tonnes target after last year’s deliveries reached 33,2 tonnes against a target of 30 tonnes.
This year’s figure is in line with Government’s vision to ensure that deliveries reach the 100-tonne target by 2023.
According to official figures, deliveries reached 3,9 tonnes in February, but fell to about 1,5 tonnes in June due to economic challenges.
They them rose to an average of 2,6 tonnes in July, August and September.
As of September, 20,5 tonnes had been delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
This is a 31 percent decline from the 29 tonnes that was delivered during the same period last year.
Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Polite Kambamura confirmed that the 40 tonnes target was beyond miners’ reach this year.
“Currently, we are not on course to meet the gold target, what we are recording is not what we were expecting,” he said.
Deputy Minister Kambamura said deliveries had been affected by power outages and complaints from miners that were not 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.”
Deputy Minister Kambamura said one of the issues that demoralised gold miners was the gold retention thresholds.
Government reviewed downwards the gold retention threshold from 70/30 percent to 55/45percent.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation spokesman Mr 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 Mr Mangisi.
He said miners wanted to take advantage of the Mining Indaba set for Gweru in next month to air their problems to responsible authorities.
“The meeting will be opened by President Emerson Mnangagwa who is expected to have face to face interaction with stakeholders in the sector,” said Mr 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.”