New Zimbabwe.com

Gold production up 29 percent

GOLD production increased by 29 percent to 7,2 tonnes during the first half of the year, generating about US$377 million in revenues,  the Chamber of Mines  said on Monday.
Total production volumes for the mineral which increased by 7, 2 per cent in the first half are a reflection of a 29 per cent surge from output achieved in the same period last year.
The growth in the level of gold production is being experienced at a time when government is targeting 17 tonnes of the yellow mineral by year end.
Total gold production for 2011 was 13 tonnes and government is targeting an average of 25 tonnes by 2015.
Zimbabwe may fall short of its gold production target this year as prices for the precious metal decline and energy shortages strain operations, the Chamber of Mines has said.
Output may fall below an earlier projection of 17,000 kilograms (37 479 pounds), the Chamber, whose members account for 90 percent of all mineral production, said in a report published during the first quarter of the year.
In 2012, gold production was 14 743 kilograms, earning the country US$1,9 billion.
The projection “may be difficult to achieve as commodity prices have not recovered much while systematic factors such as energy and sub-optimal cost structure remain prevalent,” according to the report.
Gold slid 18 percent this year, falling into a bear market last month, as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value and equities rallied on mounting confidence the U.S. economy is improving.
Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest deposits of platinum and ferrochrome after neighbouring South Africa and also has reserves of diamonds, nickel, copper and coal. Miners operating in the country include Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (IMP) and Rio Tinto Group.
Platinum output is expected to rise to 12 500 kilograms compared with 10 524 kilograms last year, while production of nickel may jump to 10 000 metric tons from 7 899 tons. Diamond output is forecast to reach 16,9 million carats from 12 million carats, according to the Ministry of Mines.
Inadequate infrastructure, political uncertainty surrounding expected elections and sluggish export demand are also hindering mining operations, the Chamber said.
The industry is affected by various taxes that “weigh down on the viability and competitiveness of the sector,” according to the report.Advertisement

Of the total production volumes experienced in the first six months of this year, it has also emerged that small-scale miners accounted for 65 percent.