Gold has earned Zimbabwe US $2.2Bn in mining revenue. Zimbabwe has earned $2.2bn from its mining sector, which has remained vibrant despite the county’s economic challenges. Furthermore, the country has continuously failed to reap maximum benefits from the sector as a result of bad management and lack of capital to fund operations.
Mining accounts for more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s export earnings but the sector has seen some mines close, including the SA-owned Metallon Group, due to a US dollar shortage. Among the minerals thathave contributed the bulk of export earnings are gold, platinum, diamonds, chrome, coal and nickel.
Mining as economic mainstay
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said mining has now overtaken agriculture as the anchor of the country’s economy. He explained that the mining sector accounts for about 65%-70% of exports in the country.
Mangudya said a record high gold output of 30 tons and an impressive performance by platinum producer Zimplats had contributed a significant chunk of the foreign currency earnings. Deputy mines and mining development minister Polite Kambamura said gold producers that sell the metal to the government would now keep 55% of their sales in US dollars, up from 30% previously, as an incentive.
He said this would help ensure operators remain viable, following the closure of some mines due to foreign currency shortages. Kamambura said Zimbabwe had the potential to produce 100 tons of gold annually by 2023. He however warned large gold producers that the government would clamp down on lack of transparency.
This, he explained, is due to the observation made that there have been some under-declarations from large-scale operators. The deputy minister insisted that there is still a long way to go as far as gold is concerned. He also added that there is need to come up with measures to monitor actual production.