THE Chamber of mines Zimbabwe has revealed that mineral production over the nine months to September declined marginally to US $1,38 billion from about US$1,4 billion during the same period last year.
Gold was the biggest contributor during the period reaching US$483.03 million after 10 468,46 kg of the precious metal was produced.
Government believes that small scale miners can produce upwards of 40% of national production if proper funding is availed to them. Last year small scale miners contributed 30 percent.
The mining sector is forecast to grow 17,1 percent this year from the 10,1 percent achieved last year, according to the chamber. Platinum output is expected grow to 12,500kg from 10 525kg while in the four month period platinum production was at 4,727kg.
However, analysts say the sector might not achieve the 17 percent growth target due to softer international commodity prices and local systemic factors such as inadequate energy and suboptimal cost structures.
The sector has been dogged by a cocktail of charges which include royalties, corporate income tax, value added tax, capital gains tax, local authority charges, Environmental Management Agency charges, licence and registration fees, among others.
The value of mineral production tumbled 17,8 percent to US$930,9 million in the first half of 2013 compared to US$1,133 billion in the previous comparative period owing to softening international prices and an unstable operating environment.
The Chamber’s statistics for the period to June 2013 show the country’s aggregated mineral value shed US$202 million after underperformance of the gold and platinum sector.
According the figures, gold production for the period dipped 21,7 percent to 6,727,36kg compared to 8 593,3kg in the first half of 2012. In value terms, gold production fetched US$325,8 million compared to US$448,9 million prior year.
Zimbabwe has been struggling to go back to its 1999 peak annual gold production of 27 tonnes with President Robert Mugabe last year announcing steps were underway to decriminalise activities of illegal panners, who are mostly active in the gold sector.
The move allows the players, now recognised as artisans, to operate in a legal and properly managed manner as the country seeks to boost mineral production.Advertisement
Furthermore, government has been pushing for recapitalisation of its gold buying unit, Fidelity Printers, to encourage local deliveries and plug mineral leakages to neighbouring South Africa.
Platinum production was almost flat in terms of value at US$291 million in the first six months of 2013 compared to US$285 million last year while volumes stood at 6 599,49 kg and 6 469,50 kg in the first six months of 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Output is expected to increase in the current year after the largest producer, Zimplats, commissions its phase two expansion project, adding 90,000 ounces to the company’s annual production and increase national output to 430,000 platinum ounces annually.