Zimbabwe’s gold deliveries in September fell by 73% to close at 1.36 tonnes from 2.8 tonnes in the comparative period in prior year.
The decline is attributed to a number of variables chief among them smuggling and the coronavirus pandemic which affected production.
Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR)’s general manager, Fradreck Kunaka, blamed Covid-19 pandemic as the major contributor to decline in gold deliveries and the late payments to gold producers. Kunaka Kunaka told Business Times:
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Gold deliveries have gone down 73% to reach 1.36 tonnes during September 2020 from 2.8 tonnes last year due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19 pandemic which hampered operations as it restricted the movement of mining raw materials and people especially the small scale miners.
Gold Miners Association of Zimbabwe chief executive Irvine Chinyenze suggested that miners were not delivering gold to FPR due to late payment and unattractive prices. Chinyenze said:
We can’t deny the effects of Covid-19 as it delayed the shipping in of raw materials from China and other countries but the major reason for the fall in gold deliveries was that FPR continues with some talk shows telling people that their money will be paid, the way to go is just look for the US dollars then clear the backlogs and begin paying on spot.
As long as small scale miners do not get paid instantly the country will lose a great deal of minerals and revenue as miners search for alternative markets for their precious minerals.
This comes after Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube and Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe have concurred that Zimbabwe was losing more than US$100m worth of gold due to smuggling.
Gold is one of Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earners and the decline spells a huge economic crisis.
More: Mining Zimbabwe