• Padenga sets audacious gold production target: Aiming for 100,000 ounces per year
  • Padenga's strategic investments fuel gold ambitions: US$45 million injected into Eureka Mine, along with significant investments in Peerless Pickstone and plant upgrades
  • Padenga emerges as a formidable competitor: Close to surpassing Caledonia Mining Corporation, Padenga solidifies its position as a third gold producer in Zimbabwe


Harare- Padenga Holdings Limited, a determined gold miner listed on the Victoria Stock Exchange, is setting a new record target amidst intense competition among the top three gold producers in Zimbabwe. After achieving a record-breaking production of 2,120 kilograms of gold in 2023, up from 1,961 kilograms in 2022, Padenga has set its sights on a new production target of 100,000 ounces per year, equivalent to over 2,500 kilograms of gold, starting with a production of between 80 000 ounces to 85 000 ounces this year. Currently, Padenga ranks as the third largest gold producer in the country, closely following Caledonia Mining Corporation and Freda Rebecca, the leading producer with an annual production exceeding 3,000 kilograms.

Padenga's ambitious gold target is supported by a US$45 million investment in the Eureka Mine, which was revived in 2021 after being dormant for over two decades. In addition to Eureka, Padenga has invested US$46 million in developing an underground mine at Chegutu's Peerless Pickstone and US$14 million in plant upgrades. In 2024, the company plans to spend approximately US$28 million, with a focus on developing the two mines. The transition of Pickstone from an open-pit mine to underground operations is receiving significant investment to support the new gold production target. Although Padenga's investments have resulted in a debt of up to US$70 million, they have solidified its position as a leading gold producer and are considered worthwhile.

In the second quarter of 2023, the Padenga group underwent a restructuring process, making the crocodile division a subsidiary while retaining the Dallaglio arm as the flagship and main unit. The group further strengthened its position by acquiring 100% ownership of Dallaglio. As anticipated, the group surpassed the 2,000-kilogram milestone, and it is expected to meet the new target with the full operations of Peerless Pickstone.

Although Padenga initially entered the gold industry in 2019 as a relatively minor player, having previously specialized in crocodile farming, its gold mining operations quickly gained prominence. The acquisition of a 50.1% stake in the Eureka gold asset in 2019 marked a turning point, as it gradually became the primary revenue generator, surpassing the crocodile farming business.


In 2019, Padenga produced 452 kilograms of gold, significantly less than Caledonia's output of 1,087 kilograms. However, within two years, Padenga narrowed the gap and surpassed Caledonia, overtaking it in the first half of 2023 as well as the cumulative nine months. In 2022, Padenga achieved a historic milestone by crossing the 1,000-kilogram margin for the first time, and in 2023, it set a new record by exceeding 2,000 kilograms. Now, in 2024, Padenga aims to surpass 2,500 kilograms of gold, edging closer to the 3,000-kilogram mark.

The gold business has become a significant contributor to Padenga's overall revenues, accounting for over 75% of the company's total. This substantial contribution has propelled Padenga ahead of major competitors like RioZim, the previous holder of the third spot, and has also posed a threat to both Caledonia and Freda Rebecca. While this competition is beneficial to the country's economy, Padenga's rapid growth has raised its profile as one of the fastest-growing companies in the sector.

Caledonia, on the other hand, produced 2,364 kilograms of gold in 2023, slightly surpassing Padenga's output of 2,120 kilograms. However, Caledonia has revised its production target for 2024, reducing it from an initial range of 75,000 to 80,000 ounces to 74,000 to 78,000 ounces. This is against Padenga’s target of at least 80 000 ounces to 85 000 ounces this year. Caledonia’s adjustment came after putting the Bilboes Mine under management, which was expected to position Caledonia as the country's largest gold producer.

Both Padenga and Caledonia have made significant efforts to manage power costs and ensure positive cash flow. Caledonia installed a 12-megawatt solar plant in 2023, covering 27% of its electricity needs, while Padenga is constructing a 7-megawatt solar plant at the Eureka mine and another 5 megawatts at the Pickstone mine. Padenga owns both the Eureka and Peerless Pickstone mines, while Caledonia holds the Blanket Mine, the Bilboes Mine (currently under maintenance), and the virgin Maligreen mine which is still under exploration. Both companies have surpassed the US$100 million revenue mark and expect to exceed US$200 million, driven by rising gold prices.

Gold remains a significant mineral in Zimbabwe, with mining contributing over 60% of the country's foreign currency earnings. Mining accounts for nearly one-third of the country's exports, with gold alone contributing close to 30% of foreign currency revenues. Given the decline in production from other minerals like platinum group metals nickel and even diamonds, gold has become a crucial focus for Zimbabwe's mining industry. The competition among the top gold producers, including Padenga, Caledonia, and Freda Rebecca, is likely to continue as each company strives to increase its market share and capitalize on the high gold prices.

In light of the introduction of ZiG, a new gold-backed currency, Zimbabwe faces an increased demand for gold reserves. Additionally, the backing of US dollars necessitates a greater amount of foreign exchange to support the new currency. However, the decline in metal prices poses a significant challenge, particularly for platinum group metals (PGMs) the second largest earnings contributor from gold.

Now, Zimbabwe has introduced a new currency backed by gold. In order to sustain its expenditure and mitigate the impact of recurring droughts caused by El Niño, the government will need to print more ZiG currency. This currency is backed by a combination of US dollar reserves and gold reserves held in banks, currently worthy US$285 million (two tonnes of gold and US$100 million in cash). The government obtains US dollar reserves through tax revenue, while gold reserves are acquired through a 50% payment of royalties in physical minerals.

However, to prevent inflationary pressures on the ZiG currency, it is crucial to build up additional reserves to meet up global standards of at least three months import cover. These reserves will ensure that there is enough liquidity to effectively manage the ZiG currency. Therefore, once again, the country is relying on gold to fulfil its currency hopes by increasing both gold reserves and generating foreign currency reserves. This is particularly important as the prices of platinum group metals (PGMs), nickel, and coal continue to decline. The agricultural sector has been severely affected by the recurring droughts, leading to significant damage, hence, can’t be counted as a significant US dollar reserves contributor.

Nonetheless, a major obstacle remains in the form of a 25% surrender requirement to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) when exchanging the highly inflated Zimbabwe dollar. Maybe this time with the ZiG, it will be different. However, the success of ZiG depends on effective management to avoid following the same path as its sister currencies, Bond and later on RTGS.

To fully tap into the potential of gold as a mineral and promote gold production, it is crucial to address issues such as gold leakages and illicit practices in gold trading. Small-scale miners, who often evade taxes, account for 60% of the country's gold production. However, due to the prevalence of informal gold trading, the country loses over US$100 million in gold revenues annually to illicit trading. Shockingly, the Al Jazeera documentary, "Gold Mafia," exposed the possibility that Zimbabwe may be losing this amount on a monthly basis due to corruption. This highlights the urgent need for officials to conduct audits and closely monitor gold trade to eradicate such practices and unlock the country's full potential.