By Alois Vinga
FIDELITY Printers and Refiners (FPR) has put in place arrangements for purchasing gold direct from artisanal and small scale gold miners amid hopes this will minimise the illegal exportation of the precious mineral.
In a statement, dated December 19 2018, FPR general manager, Fradreck Kunaka confirmed the development.
“Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Private) Limited would like to advise the public that it has enhanced arrangements for purchasing gold from artisanal and small scale miners through collaboration with and working directly with gold producers,” he said.
He said the collaboration and direct engagement between FPR and gold producers will assist in curbing illegal gold trade, leakages and will also foster transparency and accountability in the production and selling of gold.
“Under the new and most robust system, FPR will utilize its gold buying and service centers across the country to buy gold directly from the artisanal and small scale miners and the use of agency arrangements where necessary,” Kunaka added.
The move has been described as a welcome development by the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president, Henrietta Rushwaya who also urged FPR to work with the right people in rolling out the new plan.
“We welcome the move. However, Fidelity needs to come to the people through recognised structures like the ZMF ones and capacitate us to harness the product from our miners as this makes them harvest the amount of gold they want,” she said.
The former ZIFA CEO said the development was long awaited as it will eradicate corrupt middlemen who have been ripping off producers.
But a Mashonaland Central based small scale miner told NewZimbabwe.com Business that the direct purchases may not solve anything if FPR does not change its payment structures.
“Out of the total amount, FPR is currently paying 70 percent cash in forex and 30 percent is transferred to the seller’s account. This means that if you give them one kilogram of gold and the world price for the day is $40 per gram. Fidelity will give me $28.000 cash and the remaining balance of $12.000 is transferred through bank accounts.
“In comparison as the illegal buyers will be willing to pay me a spot price of USD $37.500 cash. So, ordinarily, where does one go to?” said the miner on condition of anonymity.
Minerals Marketing Company of Zimbabwe says that the country could be losing over US$50 million worth of gold every month.