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Zimbabwe’s gold output drops 53% in August on Covid-19 impact

By Almot Maqolo

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Zimbabwe’s gold production declined by 53% last month to 1.27 tonnes from 2.74 tonnes in the same month last year, Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the country’s main buyer of the precious metal has said. Of the tonnage, big miners contributed the bulk – 0.85 tonnes. On the other hand, small scale miners delivered 0.418 tonnes during the period.

“Deliveries this year have not been as expected because the year has been marked with unprecedented setbacks. We have had to work around the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic which have hampered most of our operations, thus the noticeable decline in gold deliveries,” FPR stated.

FPR said the new payment method has had a noticeable increase in gold deliveries. The country’s yellow metal buyer began 100% United States dollars payment on July 17 2020 for small scale miners. However, the deliveries of gold have been hampered by cash shortages that we have been experiencing.

“This has been as a result of the limited inflow of flights with United States dollars because of the Covid-19 restrictions,” it said.  Cumulative gold deliveries figures up to August 2020 has fallen 25% to 13.409 tonnes compared to 17.84 tonnes delivered during the first eight months of 2019.

In 2019, the country’s annual gold deliveries declined 16 percent to 27.6 tonnes from 33.2 tonnes in 2018. The figure was way below the 40 tonne target, although the output was the second highest since independence in 1980. Zimbabwe is targeting to be producing 100 tonnes of gold per year by 2023, part of a drive to achieve export earnings of US$12 billion by the mining sector by that time.

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