via RBZ gets 960kg of gold in January, Treasury to build bullion reserves | The Source February 11, 2014
Gold deliveries to the central bank’s Fidelity Printers and Refiners fell just short of a tonne in January, almost 12 percent lower than output recorded over the same period last year, official data showed on Tuesday, as miners adjust to the reversal of liberalised bullion trade.
Addressing journalists after a tour at the plant, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said government has plans to build bullion and diamond reserves, which it would leverage to raise international credit.
Fidelity, a unit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, was re-opened last December following years of redundancy resulting from undercapitalisation and the liberalisation of gold exports in 2009.
“The reports we are getting is that they received about 960 kg of unrefined gold from both primary and artisanal miners. Legislation is going to be in place to decriminalize the operations of artisanal miners. The real criminals as we go forward are going to be the gold smugglers,” Chinamasa said.
“Initially, primary producers were hesitant over prices and Fidelity’s capacity to refine gold. I want to assure the nation that Fidelity has the capacity to offer competitive international prices for the gold and I also want to assure the nation that Fidelity has the capacity to refine all gold produced in Zimbabwe.”
The government plans to pursue readmission to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) once it meets the mandatory 10 tonnes required by the LBMA.
Fidelity was rejected from the LBMA in 2008 after gold output plunged to three tonnes.
Chinamasa said government has plans to boost gold output by equipping artisanal miners, whose operations the authorities have sought to formalise in a bid to increase deliveries made to Fidelity.
“As we go forward, I would like to see a situation where we will build gold reserves at the Reserve Bank. It will not come soon. I would also like to see a situation where we will build diamond reserves at the Reserve Bank. We also want to build reserves of other currencies. We will then use the resources to leverage lines of credit,” Chinamasa said.
Zimbabwe produced an estimated 14 tonnes of gold in 2013 and is projected to reach 15 tonnes this year, well below the 1999 peak production of nearly 27 tonnes.