GOLD deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) have recorded a 30 percent increase for the months of January and February this year compared to the same period last year, an early indication that the 40 tonnes annual target set by Government could be achieved.
Government has this year set an ambitious gold delivery target of 40 tonnes and this comes after a record high of 33,2 tonnes last year.
This year's target is in line with a Government set steady progression to 100 tonnes per year by 2023, in line with President Mnangagwa's Vision 2030 by which Zimbabwe should be an upper middle income earning economy and gold has been earmarked to play a crucial role.
In e-mailed response to The Herald Business, FPR general manager Fradreck Kunaka said the usually low activity months of the year had this time registered a 3,9 tonnes return compared to 3 tonnes in the same period last year.
"Gold receipts at Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Pvt) Ltd for the months of January and February 2019 stand at 3,9 tonnes . . . this is a much improved figure compared to 3 tonnes for the comparative period last year (in) 2018," said Mr Kunaka.
"Gold inflows generally start slowly in the year and pick up as the year progresses. If the trend for 2018 is replicated in 2019, the (40 tonnes) target for 2019 is set to be achieved," he said.
Contrary to social media speculation that deliveries had plunged on the back of the 2019 Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) announced by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya, Mr Kunaka said the statement had instead had a positive impact on gold operations.
The positivity, he said, largely stems from the fact that miners who get a chunk of their earnings in RTGS balances, were now having it multiplied by the 2,5 interbank rate to the US dollar compared to the "1:1" which obtained prior to the MPS.
Primary producers, whose contribution to the overall country haul has been lagging behind their artisanal counterparts, are the ones whose returns have largely improved due to the new Government measures.
"The Monetary Policy Statement of February 20, 2019, has the following positives; miners retain 55 percent of their gold value as foreign currency and the 45 percent portion transferred into miners' bank accounts is multiplied by the ruling exchange rate on the interbank foreign exchange market.
"This rate has been around 2,5, which means miners now receive 2,5 times the RTGS value compared to the previous 1:1 rate.
"This move has even been welcomed by the primary producers who have in the previous weeks improved on their gold deliveries," he said.