ZIMBABWE is working on building gold and diamond reserves as a way of building confidence in the country’s economy and ensure easy access to lines of credit from international financial institutions. Speaking during a familiarisation tour at Fidelity Printers and Refiners yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the Government was working on setting up mineral reserves which would be under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
“We are working with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Walter Chidhakwa to restructure the gold and diamond industry. The sectors should be able to bring minerals that can increase our reserves at the RBZ.
“This initiative will allow the central bank to have easy access to lines of credit from international monetary institutions,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa urged the RBZ to start rolling out programmes that would ensure trained personnel was available to do mineral business. He said the initiative to build reserves comes at a time when big gold producers in the country have agreed to sell their gold to Fidelity following the Government‘s order which banned all exports of unrefined minerals.
“RBZ should start training a team of diamond evaluators to work at the reserves. The idea of reserves will also enable the Government to explore additional confidence boosting measures to increase investment in gold mining. As the treasury we are going to prioritise settling pre-multicurrency debt to miners to encourage reinvestment to boost production,” Minister Chinamasa said.
He said the Fidelity Printers which is now the sole buyer of gold in the country, has so far purchased 969 kg of gold and from the calculations made they are expected to meet the 10 tonnes requirements needed for them to be accredited to the London Bullion Market Association.
“To be accredited to the LBMA is a great achievement for a nation and we are happy that we have managed to buy gold close to a tonne in a month and it is quite a positive step towards meeting the 10 tonne target by the end of the year. Legislation is going to be in place to decriminalise the operations of artisanal miners considering their capacity to increase the amount of gold to be sold at Fidelity every month,” he said.
Fidelity Printers has accelerated its efforts to have gold buying centers across the country and it has incorporated ZB Bank as its gold purchasing partner.
The Ministry of Finance is also in the process of coming up with the legislation that will ensure all gold producers have access to gold buying centres. This will be done to ensure accessibility especially to small scale and artisanal miners who sometimes resorts to smuggling the yellow metal beyond the borders.
Companies like Caledonia Mining Corporation have already sold gold to Fidelity Printers with a value in excess of US$3,8 million.