HomeBusiness DigestGold output forecast for 2012 unchanged

Gold output forecast for 2012 unchanged

Gold output in February declined 11,8% from the January output of 1 053 kgs, bringing total production in the two months to 1 981 kgs. Of this output, primary producers accounted for the bulk of 1 548,8 kgs while small-scale miners recorded 432kgs.

According to the Chamber of Mines, gold production in January generated US$54,86 million.

The chamber forecasts a growth of 15,9% for the mining sector this year depending on further capital injections, as most mines are operating below capacity.

However, the chamber notes that expansion of the mining sector as a whole will be impacted on by indigenisation requirements as well as restrictive and costly environmental regulations in Zimbabwe. This was likely to cause a revision in capital allocation.

Gold production in 2011 was 12 824 kgs, which was just below the forecast figure of 13 000 kgs, and generated US$650,68 million. The country’s peak production since independence was 27 000 kgs in 1999.

The lowest was in 2003 at 3 500 kgs. Contribution from gold to total mineral output is expected to be 18% this year.

Most of the gold mines in Zimbabwe are operating below 50% capacity with the exception of Blanket Mine, Freda Rebecca and Casmyn Mining, which have reached full capacity. For the quarter to December 2011 New Dawn gold production reached 9 095 ounces, compared to 4 808 ounces in the comparable period in 2010, an increase of 89,2%. The group’s gold production for the quarter increased 3,2% as compared to the September quarter-end.

New Dawn is currently expanding gold production, with a targeted run-rate of 5 000 ounces of gold per month, equivalent to approximately 60 000 ounces of annualised gold production by December 2012. The mines, which have access to adequate financing, are those with ring-fenced offshore accounts.

The chamber reports that Platinum production was at 10 826kgs in 2011 and generated US$538,27 million. Revenue earned from platinum was up 31,59% from 2010’s US$409,67 million.

Zimbabwe currently has three platinum producers, Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki, all of which are still at various stages of production.

Output of Palladium, one of the Platinum group minerals was at 8 241kgs, generating a total of US$178,28 million.

The year 2011 also saw Nickel output of 7 992tonnes, with a value of US$175,46 million, an increase in value of 57% from 2010. Bindura Nickel Corporation is still under care and maintenance and seeks funding for the restart of operations.

The chamber quotes chrome production as having topped 599 079 tonnes worth about US$73,12 million last year. Most of it consisted of High Carbon Ferrochrome.

The chamber says coal production was down 3,98% from the prior year at 2,56 million tonnes from 2,66 million tonnes.
The 20 special grants awarded by the mining commissioner are expected to boost production in this sector.

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