ZIMBABWE’S mining sector is anticipated to rake in $3 billion in exports earnings from $2 billion realised last year, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa has said.
by FIDELITY MHLANGA IN VICTORIA FALLS
Chidakwa told delegates at the Chamber of Mines annual general meeting and conference that the amount was achievable given a rebound in chrome prices, which has been subdued over the years.
“Platinum leads in exports accounting for 42% of total exports followed by gold. The reason why gold did that was because small-scale miners could not go to the ground because of rains,” he said.
“The biggest shocker is chrome. Nickel is being overtaken by chrome. Today chrome sits on $160 per tonne when it was $35 a tonne last year.”
Central bank statistics, presented by RBZ deputy governor, Kupukile Mlambo, show that from January to May 12 export shipments were pegged at $852,6 million from $668,5 million last year.
Ferrochrome has so far earned the country $125,7 million, while chrome ore has raked in $49,6 million.
Gold grossed $275,7 million from $266,5 million, in the same period last year.
Platinum exports are at $333,5 million up from $282 million.
Diamond exports are down to $27 million from $51 million last year.
“We are seeing a huge recovery of chrome, which is predicated on the recovery of the prices,” Chidakwa said.
He said the government was succeeding in regaining chrome claims from Zimasco and ZimAlloys for distribution to small-scale miners and smelters.
“Having secured chrome concessions from Zimasco, I am happy that we have extended chrome claims to smelters and individuals. We will continue to do that with the claims from Zimalloys. We now have cordial relations with the companies so that we extend the benefit to others. I hope we should have $500 million from chrome this year,” Chidakwa said.
Zimbabwe and South Africa hold 70% of the world’s chrome reserves.
The Mines minister said he will engage the Justice ministry over the realignment of the indigenisation law.
“We have made clarification on the indigenisation policy, but not the law. I will go back and tell the minister responsible for the laws to include the aspect of the 75% local content in the law,” Chidakwa said.