Minerals production plummets


ZIMBABWE’s mineral exports dropped 11,2% to $528,8 million in the four months ended April this year as international commodity prices continue to soften coupled with local systemic factors such as inadequate energy and suboptimal cost structures slowing the growth of the sector.

Report by Gamma Mudarikiri

Latest statistics released by Chamber of Mines showed that mineral production declined to $528,8 million in the first quarter from $588 million recorded in the same period the previous year.

International commodity prices have been softening since the beginning of this year as global economies continue to weaken.

Analysts have said this has been a nightmare for Zimbabwe’s mining industry, which is exacerbated by policy inconsistencies.

The major headache is the indigenisation law coupled with uncertainty surrounding the forthcoming elections, which has slowed down investment in the sector.

Chamber of Mines is on record saying the sector is also dogged by a cocktail of exorbitant charges which include royalties, corporate income tax, value added tax, capital gains tax, local authority charges, Environmental Management Agency fees, and licence and registration fees.

The chamber says the charges continue to suffocate the growth of the mining industry in the country.

However, in first quarter of this year gold production dominated in terms of value, tagged at $224,7 million from production volumes of 4 434kg.

This was followed by platinum which in terms of value contributed $196 million to the mineral output in the period from production volumes of 4 272kg while nickel production totalled 3 129 tonnes valued at $43,2 million , copper 2 561,32 tons worth $14,8 million, while coal production in the same period amounted to 331 338 tonnes with a value of $14,5 million.

According to Chamber of Mines, the sector is forecast to grow 17,1% this year from the 10,1% achieved last year.
Gold Production is this year expected to reach 17 000kg from 14 742kg last year as the government is set to regularise and fund the operations of small-scale and artisanal miners.

The government is anticipating that small-scale miners can produce upwards of 40% if proper funding is availed to them.

Platinum output is expected to grow to 12 500kg from 10 525kg while in the four month period platinum production was at 4 727kg.

However, analysts say the mining sector might not meet the 17% growth target projected by the government due to softer international commodity prices and local systemic factors such as inadequate energy and sub-optimal cost structures.