Zimbabwe’s gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners reached 33.2 tonnes in 2018 worth over $1 billion in export receipts, the highest ever since 1980 as the country starts rebuilding reserves for the yellow metal.

Gold production which reached a 27.1 tonne peak in 1999, but later tumbled to a low of about 3.5 tonnes in 2008 is on a rebound according to official data released to the ZBC News by Fidelity Printers and Refiners, today.

The data reflects 33.2 tonnes of deliveries for the precious metal last year up from 24.8 tonnes in 2017.

The move has also prompted regulatory authorities to revise their 2019 production target to over 40 tonnes.

As per tradition the small scale miners despite facing a plethora of challenges during the last quarter have accounted for over 60 percent of the deliveries.

Gold is Zimbabwe’s top mineral export earner, with production rising in the last four years after small-scale and individual miners received financial and equipment support from the government.

Observers say, export incentives unveiled to producers in the past few years have also seen the commodity dominating foreign exchange earnings.

According to the central bank data, Zimbabwe has one of the huge gold reserves per square kilometre in the world accounting for 13 million tonnes of proven reserves of which only 580 tonnes have been exploited since 1980.