Beneficiation is the only way Zimbabwe can create significant employment and possibly structure more meaningful asset-backed deals to finance its economic revival projects, businessman Frank Buyanga says.
This also comes as the South African-based entrepreneur has rallied African youths “to take the mantle of empowering themselves as opposed to government aid” and his African Medallion Group (AMG) has offered to capitalise the country’s sovereign wealth fund to empower youths.
“In a country with high unemployment, the process will create more jobs and ultimately more wealth..,” Buyanga said, adding benefaction has also “become a major source and driver of the empowerment of historically disadvantaged groups” on the continent.
“It also represents opportunities for development of new entrepreneurs in large and small-scale mining sectors as well as downstream industries,” he said.
With his AMG outfit involved in the jewellery and medallion-making business, Buyanga says the value-addition of Zimbabwe’s minerals can actually stimulate such labour-intensive investments as smelting plants, metal fabrication and ceramic pottery.
Since its launch in February 2016, the South African-based company has amassed R100 billion worth of gold assets by now.
As such, Buyanga has challenged young traders on the continent “to devise creative, self-propelling ways of harnessing its vast endowments instead of merely seeking state assistance”.
And Buyanga’s calls for enhanced beneficiation of the country’s minerals also comes as gold, which has significantly risen to 25 tonnes so far, is seen as contributing more to Harare’s foreign currency earnings.
With Zimbabwe pinning its hopes on the yellow metal – accounting for half of the mining sector’s foreign receipts along tobacco – the skint government has often been reliant on bullion structures and sales to finance critical imports like fuel, medicines and other essentials.
“All that gold is going to the international market, Zimbabwe is producing a product that is required the whole world, we… supply what is required by the whole world,” Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Mangudya said in America last week.
The country is targeting 28 tonnes of gold by December – the highest figure ever since 1999 when Zimbabwe produced 27 tonnes.
The RBZ has also moved to obtain more deliveries from small-scale miners who now account for 50 percent-plus of national output since 2015 when government decriminalised artisanal mining.
About two weeks ago, the World Gold Council (WGC) said gold demand by global central banks would remain high on the back of diversification and the need to maintain higher forex reserves.
As such, the Banks have added nearly 200 tonnes of precious mineral to their stocks in the first half of 2018, an eight percent increase from the 179 tonnes bought in the same period last year.
“…we expect central bank demand to stay buoyant as diversification will continue to (drive demand and)… transition to a multipolar currency reserves-system over the coming years,” the WGC said.
According to the global bullion body, many emerging market central banks have a high degree of exposure to the US dollar and turn to gold as a natural currency hedge. DailyNews