JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Zimbabwean gold-mining companies, which are now free to sell their gold on the open market, are capable of producing at a rate of 50 t/y, Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines president Victor Gapare said on Wednesday.
Gapara told the Omega Mining in Africa conference in Johannesburg that the former practice of Zimbabwean gold miners being forced to sell their gold to the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank was over.
"Gold producers are now allowed to sell their gold to whoever they want," Gapare told Mining Weekly Online.
On the capacity of the re-emerging Zimbabwe to produce gold, Gapare said that a 1999 study had shown that Zimbabwe was capable of producing gold at a rate of up to 50 t a year over a ten- to 15-year horizon.
Gapare revealed that the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines was currently one of the organisations that had been granted a gold-dealing licence under the new dispensation, which had resulted in an increased production.
"We pool our gold and bring it down to the Rand Refinery in Johannesburg, and that has resulted in gold production starting to move forward again," he said, in the presence of new Zimbabwe Mining Minister Obert Mpofu, who said that the government was in the process of preparing legislation that would encourage investment in the largely unexplored Zimbabwe.
Gapare added that, geologically, the greenstone belts of Zimbabwe had a striking resemblance to the greenstone belts of Australia, but that Zimbabwe had not deployed the exploration techniques necessary for optimum development.
"We believe that with additional exploration, the mining industry is one that can really grow," he said.