The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe is forecast to have raked in US$6 billion in mineral exports last year, which is a significant milestone in current plans to grow the sector’s contribution to the economy to US$12 billion by 2023, the Government has said.
The sector accounts for more than 60 percent in foreign currency receipts annually and 13 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said investments by mining companies in recent years had boosted output and placed the country firmly on course to meet the envisaged target.
Growing investments are mainly attributed to deliberate policies meant to smoothen the operating environment.
In a presentation at the Rodgers Alfred Nikita Mangena Barracks (formerly Zimbabwe National Defence University (ZNDU) last week, Minister Chitando said mining had grown from US$2,7 billion in 2017 to US$5,73 billion in 2021.
“The final figures will be announced, but we will have about US$5 billion generated by the mining sector in 2021. US$12 billion was structured in a way that looks at some of the low-hanging fruits, which had potential to give immediate returns, then some projects which would take medium term to implement,” he said.
“ . . . The fact of the matter is every day we are moving towards the attainment of US$12 billion by 2023. It will be achieved and it is being achieved every day.”
Over the years, lack of capital has been a major constraint in developing mining projects, but the situation has since improved owing to targeted policies by the Second Republic.
“What we have been lacking as a country is capital. We have the minerals; we have human capital. I have said it on many forums that there is no country in this world that has better human capital in mining than Zimbabwe.
“We do have the human capacity, something which has been demonstrated over years, but we lack focus on economic development, which enables capital to flow in.”
Sustained economic development, Minister Chitando added, was not an event, but a process that required serious planning and action.
“If there is a mine that requires five years to build, even if you are in a rush, you cannot do it in six months.
“So economic development is a process, not an event.
“The most important thing is to identify the process and start walking in the process,” he said.
A number of new projects are at various stages of implementation.
In terms of the US$12 billion target, US$4 billion is expected from gold, US$3 billion from platinum, US$1 billion from coal, US$1 billion from diamonds, US$1 billion from chrome, ferrochrome and carbon steel, US$500 million from lithium and the balance from other minerals.
The country has inherent potential in the sector since it has over 60 mineral occurrences.
For instance, it is home to the world’s second largest deposits of platinum group metals and is believed to have potential to supply a quarter of the total value of diamonds traded globally.
Recent official data shows that nickel mattes earned Zimbabwe US$1,14 billion, nickel ores and concentrates US$956 million, while semi-manufactured gold exports raked in US$1,36 billion in the eleven months to November 2021.
Unwrought platinum earned US$186 million.