THE Ministry of Finance has revised upwards the growth forecast for the mining and quarrying sector to 16,7% from 15,9% after increased investment in exploration and development, particularly in the gold sector.
Report by Staff Writer
Currently the mining sector contributes 13% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), almost matching the 14% contributed by the manufacturing sector.
Analysts believe if key challenges facing the mining sector such as inadequate capital and energy supply constraints are overcome, mining can contribute as much as 18% to GDP by 2015, and well above 25% by 2020.
Gold, platinum and diamonds are expected to lead the growth of the mining sector. According to figures obtained from the Chamber of Mines, mineral production in the nine months to September was US$1,36 billion. The figures, however exclude diamonds.
Last year, the country generated US$2,013 billion from its minerals.
Gold production in the nine months to September grew 31% over the same period last year in value terms to US$585,007 million, from US$447,18 million.
A total 11 139,50 kgs of gold were produced in the period against 12 992,52kgs produced in the full year to December 31 2011.
For the quarter to September, one of the country’s gold mines operating at full capacity, Blanket Mine, recorded its highest quarterly gold production ever since its first recorded production in 1906.
The mine recorded a 33% increase in gold production to 12,919 ounces in the third quarter from 9,743 ounces in the 2011 third quarter. Total gold production for the nine months to September 30, 2012 was 33,643 ounces.
The group is targeting an annualised production of 40 000 ounces.
Platinum production in the nine-month period was 7 433,80kg valued at US$325,043 million. Zimbabwe has increased production of the mineral by 121% since 2006.
The country has not witnessed extensive exploration and once frontier technology is brought forth, prospects of far reaching discoveries are bright.
According to projections, if US$5 billion is invested in the mining sector, platinum production would reach 21 000 kgs in 2016 while gold would rise to 50 000 kgs. Last year gold production was 12 992kgs shy of the projected forecast of 13 000kgs.