GOLD deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) dropped by 22 percent to 12,018 tonnes in the first seven months of the year compared to 15,4 tonnes during the same period last year.
Latest data from FPR, the country’s sole gold buying unit under the purview of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, indicates that the bulk of the deliveries during the period under review came from small-scale miners who delivered 7,128 tonnes while large scale producers accounted for 4,89 tonnes.
Last year, the small-scale mining sector contributed over 60 percent of the yellow metal that was delivered to the formal market.
Small-scale miners, despite accounting for the bulk of the gold delivered to the formal market, have lamented a number of challenges bedevilling the sector.
These include delays in payment for gold deliveries to FPR as well as fuel shortages.
Meanwhile, FPR has started paying out small-scale miners all arrears for the yellow metal they delivered.
This follows last week’s assurance to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that small-scale miners would start receiving their dues this week.
“We are pleased to announce that FPR gold buying centres began paying out all outstanding arrears for gold bullion to them by Tuesday the 1st of September 2020.
“This set up of prompt payment by FPR after receiving bullion shall be the order of the day going forward,” said ZMF in an internal memo to its members.
ZMF, the mother body of all small-scale miners in the country, had received concerns from its members over delays by FPR to effect payments for gold deliveries.
The gold buying agent attributed the delays in settling the gold payments to shortage of foreign currency following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen restrictions on international flights that transport the hard currency into the country.