Sunday, 1 November 2020

GOLD DELIVERIES PLUNGE : RBZ

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya says gold deliveries to its subsidiary, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), were lower in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period previously, largely due to some non-compliance issues.

 At the same time one of the indigenous local firms contracted to buy gold on behalf of FPR – Better Brands Jewelleries – had significantly increased its deliveries to the authorities. This comes as authorities are grappling with high incidences of gold leakages which some mining industry players blame on poor capitalisation of small scale miners and better prices offered by underground networks.

Speaking last week at the Chamber of Mines and Financial Gazette unveiling of the State of Mining Report, Mangudya said gold deliveries to FPR had been lower than expected. “There are some sectors where compliance is low. I have looked at the numbers from the mining sector where gold has produced 25 tonnes.

“This year gold that has come through the formal channels, that is to Fidelity Printers, is lower than last year where in the first nine months we had 18,3 tonnes. This year we have 12,8 tonnes. “Despite the price increase of 26 percent year on year, gold is at 12,8 tonnes on an average price of US$55 000 that is US$710 million versus the US$795 million received in the same period in 2019.”

“I am just saying the 12,8 tonnes by the end of September might leave us at 17-18 tonnes (short) by the end of the year. “So, despite gold having gone down, in terms of value, other mining products especially platinum pushes the mining sector upwards,” Mangudya said.

This comes as it emerged last week that despite lower deliveries to FPR, Better Brands was the biggest and most consistent agents of the RBZ buying the precious yellow metal from small scale miners across the country.

Better Brands has been an RBZ agent since 2006 and is credited with plugging leakages through its aggressive mopping up of gold among small scale miners. Last week, the firm delivered nearly 40kg of gold – the same time that authorities busted a suspected gold smuggling ring allegedly involving Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) boss, Henrietta Rushwaya.

The delivery occurred also at the same time that Better Brands director Pedzisayi “Scott” Sakupwanya had his photos with vast amounts of cash and gold leaked on social media platforms.

However, FPR decided not to dwell on the incident but confirmed that indeed Better Brands was among its biggest gold buying agents. FPR spokesperson Chelesani Moyo told the Daily News On Sunday that Sakupwanya was a bona fide gold dealer who had a “squeaky clean record” with them.

“We wish to confirm that Sakupwanya is one of our gold buying agents allowed to buy gold from small scale miners for disposal to Fidelity Printers and Refiners,” Moyo said. Sakupwanya yesterday told the Daily News On Sunday that his company was committed to delivering as much gold as possible to FPR.

“There are many people who are licensed but doing very little to support the government by delivering gold to Fidelity Printers. “Imagine the benefits to the economy and national fiscus if everyone who is licensed would deliver at least 20kg gold to Fidelity Printers every month?

“But there are many licenced buyers out there who are licensed for the sake of it. Very little is delivered to the government and the rest goes where God knows,” Sakupwanya said. This comes as authorities have reported losing tonnes of gold in illicit trades.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube told a breakfast meeting organised by our sister paper, the Daily News last year that the country had lost between 30 and 34 tonnes of gold to smuggling.

“When we spoke to our colleagues in South Africa at the Rand Refinery in Cape Town, we saw a jewellery shop. They said that’s all your gold from Zimbabwe. “A total of between 30 and 34 tonnes are smuggled into South Africa. We will have a discussion with RBZ governor John Mangudya in terms of output and retention percentages to enable gold miners to sell their gold through proper channels

“But the deliveries have been going down at Fidelity Printers because of leakages in the sector, which we are finding a way to plug so that output is accounted for in the formal sector,” Ncube said then. Daily News

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