Diamond output anchors mining performance

MINING industry recorded strong performance during the first eight months of 2018, with the majority of key minerals posting significant output growth led by diamond at 22% increase, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Isaac Kwesu has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Chamber of Mines chief executive officer Isaac Kwesu

Giving an update during the Mine Entra 2018 conference in Bulawayo yesterday, Kwesu said the mining sector continued leading the revival of the economy.

He, however, said that current foreign currency challenges were threatening the sector’s viability going forward.

“I am happy to report that our mining industry recorded strong performance during the first eight months of 2018, compared to same period in 2017, with the majority of key minerals posting significant output growth,” he said.

In the period under review, diamond recorded a 22% from 1.8 million carats to 2,2 million carats, lithium minerals 45% from 34 110 tonnes to 49 359 tonnes, granite 46% from 109 600 tonnes to 160 600 tonnes, coal 4% from 2,3 million to 2,4 million tonnes. Platinum Group Metals recorded marginal increases of around 1% for the period under review.

For gold, Kwesu said as at September 2018, gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners was at 28,2 tonnes, a 54% increase compared to 18,3 tonnes recorded for the same period in 2017.

Total gold output for 2018 was projected at around 32 tonnes, compared to 26,4 tonnes in 2017.

“While performance of the sector has predominantly been encouraging during the first eight months of 2018, the outlook for the full year is being threatened by foreign exchange and capital shortages, rising production costs (largely propped up high input costs in the domestic market and high electricity charges), and suboptimal fiscal charges, among other constraints,” he said.

Kwesu said in the outlook, the mining industry was expected to continue leading the revival of the economy as envisaged in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme launched on October 5.

He said the growth targets are only achievable if the mentioned challenges were adequately resolved.

“The mining industry remains committed to work with all stakeholders with a view to growing the mining industry and maximise its contribution to the socio-economic development of the country,” he said.

Giving his keynote address, Mines and Mining Development minister, Winston Chitando said the industry targeted to generate $12 billion revenue by 2025.

He said investment appetite in the mining sector was very high, an indication that Zimbabwe was open for business.

Chitando said government would continue working on the capacitation of small scale miners as well as establishment of gold centres around the country.