By Lucy Tandi
PRIMARY gold producers delivered 2.576.515 tonnes of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), a difference of 55.2% compared to Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners’ production levels during the third quarter of 2020.
ASM production plummeted from the prior year’s 2.478.1176t to a low of 1462.213t for the period under review.
Total gold delivered to Fidelity for the period under review-totalled 4.038.728t, a slight decline from the prior quarter’s, which saw a combined 4.889.78t of gold delivered to FPR.
The 4038.728t of the bullion delivered to FPR during the last quarter, was over 50% lower, compared to 8.327.53t, delivered in the same period, in 2019.
The month of August recorded the lowest output for both primary and the ASM sector as deliveries stood at 1.270.2141 tonnes, followed by September, which recorded 1.362.1444 tonnes, while the month of July recorded the highest deliveries of 1406.3692 tonnes.
However, September saw a boom for primary producers, recording close to a tonne at 976.6670kgs. It was the opposite of the ASM sector which recorded its lowest deliveries at 385.4774kgs.
From January – September, bullion deliveries have persisted on a downward trend owing to a myriad of reasons including, but not limited to limited foreign currency to pay miners and import mining inputs, effects of COVID- 19 and leakages.
Gold received by Fidelity for the second quarter of 2020 dropped, falling short of 1.633.71 tonnes from deliveries recorded in the first quarter of 2020. Total deliveries for the second quarter of 2020 stood at 4.889.7758 tonnes, a decrease from the first quarter, which recorded 5,721.71t.
Bullion delivered to Fidelity for the first quarter of 2020 also dropped to 5.721.71t compared to 6.523.49t delivered in the same period in 2019.
A total of 15t has been delivered to Fidelity since the beginning of 2020, while 10.6t was recorded for the period between January and June 2020.
Fidelity is no longer hopeful to attain its ambitious 35t of gold by year-end, due to effects of the COVID- 19.
“We are three months away from ending the year and we are currently on 15t. The 35t gold output is a target which may not be attained due to factors highlighted above,” said FPR general manager, Fradreck Kunaka.
Kunaka pointed out the decline in gold deliveries to the effects of COVID- 19.
“Deliveries this year have not been as expected because the year has been marked with unprecedented setbacks. We have had to work around the restrictions imposed by the COVID- 19 pandemic, which has hampered most of our operations, thus the noticeable decline in gold deliveries.
“As long as COVID- 19 is upon us, the gold deliveries will likely not show any meaningful increase, since we do not locally produce the mining inputs or the cash required to pay for the gold delivered by small scale miners,”
“It must be noted that the COVID- 19 restrictions also affected the movement of mining inputs, thus causing a decline in gold deliveries. The impacts of the lockdowns will continue to be felt up to the end of the year with a possibility of extending further given the reported second round of infections. There is a likelihood borders that were reopening being closed again, thus further worsening the movement of mining inputs into the country,” said Kunaka.
Historical figures FY2019 reveal gold deliveries to Fidelity were 17% down at 27.66t from Governments’ ambitious projection of 40 tonnes.
27.66t of gold were delivered to Fidelity FY2019, a decline from 33.2 tonnes delivered FY2018.