Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Government has set a target of 40 tonnes of gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers this year up from the 33,2 tonnes gold miners delivered last year as it angles to reach a peak of 100 tonnes annual output by 2023, according to Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando.
Gold has been singled out as one of the major metals expected to drive the country’s economic revival fortunes to upper middle income status as expounded by President Mnangagwa under the Vision 2030 agenda.
To attain this, the Mines and Mining Development Ministry is working on pushing the country’s gold output to at least 100 tonnes per year by 2023 and as a build-up, Government wants to see a gradual growth in the sector towards the grand target.
The 2018 record breaking output has already set the tone and Government is stretching its expectations this year on the back of splendid performance by small scale miners.
“We are targeting 40 tonnes,” Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando told The Herald Business last week. “Remember we want it to go to 100 tonnes per year within the next five years, so from the time the long-term target was set what we want is to see a deliberate continuous increase towards the 100 tonnes mark.
“All our programmes in the ministry are a feeder to His Excellency’s vision (2030) by which we should attain upper middle income earning status,” said Minister Chitando.
The 100 tonnes target has been met with scepticism in certain quarters, but Minister Chitando has previously availed an elaborate plan through which this would be attained.
The plan is anchored, among other strategies, on fully utilising Government owned gold mines which it controls through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), attracting foreign direct investment into the gold sector as well as capacitating small scale miners to work on claims that are not amenable to mining by large conglomerates.
Some of the assets that ZMDC is seeking to resuscitate include Jena Gold Mine in the Midlands, Evington Gold Mine near Chegutu and several others with higher potential. On the foreign direct investment front, Government — led by President Mnangagwa — has been on a worldwide whirlwind marketing Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination under his Zimbabwe is open for business mantra.
Government is also working on different strategies primarily aimed at capacitating small scale miners who last year accounted for 21,7 tonnes of the total output compared to 11,5 tonnes by their primary producing counterparts. The drive to empower small scale miners has seen the establishment of gold centres, which will be rolled out across the country’s eight mining districts.
On his latest visit to Belarus, President Mnangagwa secured a US$120 million export credit line for the supply of earth moving machinery and equipment for agriculture, dam construction as well as mining whose main target will be the small scale sector.