ZCCM-IH chief executive officer Mabvuto Chipata says talks with various companies outside Zambia are at an advanced stage to secure a viable market for the off-take of gold that will be due to be sold.
And Chipata has announced that ZCCM-IH will be offering a competitive price for gold from the local market, pegged at a starting price of K550 per gramme.
Meanwhile, Consolidated Gold Company Limited have invited all interested stakeholders to utilize a new, state-of-the art gold testing laboratory to ascertain the quantity and quality of gold mineral they may have as personal holdings to secure a market and the best possible sale price.
Addressing journalists following a media tour at the Consolidated Gold Company laboratory in Lusaka, Wednesday, Chipata said talks with various companies outside Zambia were at an advanced stage.
He was responding to a question on what progress ZCCM-IH had made in securing a viable market for the off-take of Zambian gold once the company was ready and in a position to commence sales.
“The aspect of off-takers, yes, as you know, as we buy the gold, we will need to sell. So, we are partnering with a number of companies outside Zambia, whom we are talking to already. I think we are near conclusion in terms of contracts for buying. And then, our partnership with Karma Mining, they are experts as well in this market. So, this is work that is ongoing, and we hope that we will be able to close a number of transactions very soon,” Chipata told journalists.
“We are also working with banks in this (gold) project. The whole value chain requires that you start from where you are buying; you need to look at the logistics; you need to look at the security; you need to look at the storage of the gold; the buyer and financing structure…so, this is a big project that we think that all the stakeholders, really, have got a part to play in this process.”
Asked how confident ZCCM-IH was at achieving their projected target of securing 40,000Kgs of gold, or 40 tonnes, in view of the security threats that halted the scoping exercise, Chipata expressed optimism given the progress made so far.
Teams comprising of ZCCM-IH, Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and the Ministry of Home Affairs personnel were deployed to eight gold mining and panning sites across the country to undertake a scoping exercise, according to Chipata.
The exercise was, however, temporarily halted due to the fragile security situation over the last few weeks following the recent spate of gassing attacks in various areas of the country.
“How confident are we at achieving the target? You will appreciate that this is a project that we are doing for the first time. We know that Kansanshi Mine produces about 4,000-5,000Kgs of gold as we stand. The work we are doing now in terms of exploration will help us ascertain the quantities of gold that are on the ground, particularly, in Mwinilunga area (North-Western Province). In Rufunsa (District) as well, once we start exploration work, we will be able to ascertain the quantities that are there,” he replied.
“The information we have now is based on the information we have informally. So, we think that once we have done exploration work, we will be able to announce how much quantities we will discover in each of the areas as we go on during the year.”
And he announced that ZCCM-IH would be offering a competitive price for gold from the local market, pegged at a starting price of K550 per gramme.
“I must say that so far, our moving into the market to buy the gold, has been received favourably by the artisanal miners. We are offering a competitive price, starting from K550 per gramme, and depending on the purity using thorough technical assaying methods, the price may be higher. Compared to prices found on the ground ranging from K350 to K500, the price range we are offering compares favourably to this, but also to market prices as well, once the purity or gold content is determined,” Chipata announced.
Meanwhile, speaking earlier, Consolidated Gold Company Limited chief executive officer Faisal Keer invited all interested parties to utilize the new, state-of-the-art gold testing laboratory to ascertain the quantity and quality of gold mineral they may have as personal holdings to secure a market and best possible sale price.
“This laboratory is targeted at the operations we are setting up starting with Rufunsa where we are working with small-scale and artisanal miners there from the surrounding area. We have so far invested about US $250,000 in setting up this lab that will be able to process about 30 samples per day. The lab will also be open to the general public for them to come and have their samples tested from here,” said Keer.
“The next step in the project, as you saw, we have procured 10 milling plants to be set-up on the Rufunsa site and also some earth-moving machinery. The gold milling plants have a capacity of processing 30 tonnes per day and will be operational by the first week of April, 2020.”
The media tour was organized as part of efforts to sensitize all stakeholders of progress ZCCM-IH had made in the ongoing gold value chain project.
The company has started buying gold from artisanal and small-scale gold miners as one of the steps towards the formalization of gold mining and trading activities.
ZCCM-IH’s national target for gold from both primary and secondary sources is 40 tonnes or 40,000Kgs.