FIDELITY Printers and Refiners (FPR) says it has paid in excess of US$2,9 million in the last five months to December 2017 to small-scale miners under the Export Incentive Scheme, as gold deliveries in 2018 are expected to increase on the back of financial assistance through the Gold Development Initiative Fund (GDIF) Government put in place the GDIF to capacitate the artisanal and small-scale miners.
By Melody Chikono
So far in excess of US$80 million has mainly been disbursed to miners in the form of mining equipment and approximately 10% as working capital.
Total gold deliveries during the period were 18 082kgs with small-scale producers delivering 12 752kgs against 5 330kgs by primary producers.
Fidelity Printers general manager Fredrick Kunaka told businessdigest the performance was driven, among other factors, by the financial assistance given to artisanal and small-scale miners under the GDIF and the Incentive Scheme which rewarded miners who sold gold to FPR.
Last year also saw the provision of funding to gold-buying agents to enhance their mobilisation capacity, as well as relaxation of requirements when miners came to deliver gold.
“We anticipate an increase in gold deliveries by both large-scale and small-scale miners in 2018 buttressed on the financial assistance that a number of producers in both categories received under the Gold Development Initiative Fund,” Kunaka said.
“From August to December 2017 we paid out US$2,9 million. I must also hasten to explain that the incentive was being given to those miners who were being paid through the banking system initially and was extended to miners when part of the payment was in bond notes. The 5% incentive applied to the bond note component of the gold proceeds only.”
Recently, FPR announced that it will no longer pay 40% of gold deliveries from small-scale gold miners in bond notes, citing shortages of foreign currency, which, it is feared, could lower deliveries from small-scale miners.
Kunaka said reverting to the black market would not be caused by revenue split but rather indiscipline of gold sector players.
“I would like to point out the fact that it would be total unsustainably to mine gold in Zimbabwe if imported inputs constituted 70% of the revenue generated. I would shudder a situation where all miners demand to be paid in cash. Zimbabwe would literally come to a standstill as there will be no foreign currency for other national priorities such as fuel pharmaceuticals etcetera,” he said.
Kunaka said government is maximising efforts to ensure that equipment manufacturers and/or suppliers are given foreign currency to bring the mining equipment which the same miners are paying for through RTGS under the Gold Development Initiative Fund that was put in place to capacitate mainly the artisanal and small-scale miners.