HARARE – Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) has managed to ramp up its gold production at the back of support from agents, including Suzan General Trading (Suzan), documents show.
This also comes as the country’s yellow metal output – for the first seven months to July – has risen to nearly 21 tonnes and the Dubai-based company’s associate firms, including Skorous Investments (Skorous), have been cleared by the police of any alleged involvement in a bullion-smuggling ring.
According to papers seen by the Financial Gazette, Suzan has not only resumed its gold exports to the Middle East, but the Mukesh Dhakan-owned company has renewed its buying licence with FPR.
“On 05 July 2018, we deposited 97,027 kilogrammes of gold from Skorous… for safekeeping while verifications on the source (of the metal) were being made,” Zimbabwe Republic Police assistant commissioner Henry Dhlakama said in a July 09 letter to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe subsidiary.
“May you be advised that we have completed our verifications and found that the company had legally acquired the gold as such could lawfully possess it. We are kindly advising that Fidelity… can proceed, and dispose the gold in terms of the law as it is no longer subject of any investigation,” it said.
While Suzan had been mired in a contrived scandal of sorts early last month, it would seem the Dubai-based group – along several other independent buyers – has managed to win government’s audience with its “tantalising offer” based on 70 percent cash payments to artisanal miners, the remainder in transfers and an extra 12,5 percent export incentive.
This, officials say, has helped dampen smuggling of the precious mineral by 85 percent and which scourge or vice was fleecing the country of an estimated eight tonnes a year, and improve the liquidity situation in Zimbabwe.
According to Dhakan’s arguments to the Zimbabwean market and authorities, the process of taking gold to South Africa did not only have a longer-working or trading cycle, but fraught with dangers including theft and currency risks, and here the rand has been on a constant decline – meaning syndicates were losing up to 15 percent in value.
And with renewed optimism, and faith in FPR’s shemes, Harare has been able to build a war chest to stabilise nostro accounts and finance critical imports.
On Wednesday, Central Bank governor John Mangudya reiterated that Zimbabwe had the potential to earn $4 billion-plus per year from its gold exports and the country has a proven yellow metal resource of 13 million tonnes.