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Zimbabwe: RBZ to Offload Fidelity Printers Stake

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Zimbabwe: RBZ to Offload Fidelity Printers Stake

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is ceding a controlling stake in the country’s sole gold buyer and refiner, Fidelity Printers & Refiners, in an effort to boost compliance levels in the trading of the yellow metal.

Authorities say at least US$100 million worth of gold is smuggled out of the country every month amid disgruntlement from producers with regards to pricing and payment modalities for gold delivered to Fidelity Printers & Refiners (Fidelity).

Delays in the payment of gold deliveries has in the past led to temporary mine closures by some of the country’s biggest gold producers such as RioZim.

Fidelity, which is responsible for printing and minting Zimbabwe’s local currency, will first have to be split into two before the gold buying and refining side of the business is sold.

Once split, the RBZ will cede a 60 percent stake of the gold buying and refining business to miners, a model similar to the Rand Refinery, South Africa’s biggest refinery, which is owned by some of that country’s biggest gold producers.

Zimbabwe counts Blanket Mine, Freda Rebecca, and RioTinto among some of its large mine houses.

“The unbundling of FPR is designed to partially privatise the gold refining business by allowing private players to acquire a stake therein and in the process secure and endear the private sector’s interests in the production and marketing of gold in Zimbabwe,” RBZ said in a statement on Wednesday.