THE Chamber of Mines said Wednesday earnings from mineral exports during the first five months of the year rose to US$800 million compared to about US$500 million achieved during the same period last year.
Platinum, diamond and gold accounted for about 60% of the total income and production volumes, the Chamber said.
Mining has continued to be the mainstay of the country’s economic recovery and growth, contributing an estimated 13% to Gross Domestic Product in 2011. The sector is projected to grow by 15,8 per cent this year.
Mineral exports have seen a major rebound, growing 138% in 2010. In 2011 exports rose a further 38,7 % and projections for 2012 are estimated at 13,3 % on the back of firm world market prices of platinum, gold and diamonds.
The sector came close to collapse in the last decade with several producers putting their operations on care and maintenance as the country battled a major economic crisis characterised by hyperinflation and the shortage of foreign currency.
But the replacement of the Zimbabwe dollar with more stable foreign currencies and a raft of liberalisation measures introduced by the coalition government helped fire a turnaround which has seen the sector become a key driver of economic recovery and growth.
Gold output increased by 38% and for the first time since 2006, the country’s production breached the 10 tonne mark, making the country eligible for re-admission to the London Bullion Market. 2011 gold shipments almost doubled on the 2010 figure to reach US$600 million.
However, diamond production in 2011 rose a marginal 3,4 %, although a significant milestone was achieved when the country received the Kimberley Process green light to sell gems from Marange on the international market in late 2011