Mineral exports in the four months to April 2018 rose 29% to 592 metric tonnes (mt), driven by increased output although revenues marginally declined by 1% to US$508 million owing to fluctuations in international prices.
By Melody Chikono
In the same period last year, mineral output stood at 459,3mt and raked in US$511 million.
Statistics released by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, an agent of government responsible for the marketing of all minerals, excluding gold and silver, show that diamonds took the lead with 346mt being produced, up 19% from 291,4mt in the corresponding period in 2017.
Platinum Group Metals matte took the lead in revenue input , raking in US$183 million although it was a 1% drop from US$185 million realised same period in 2017, while concentrates dropped 25% to US$152m compared to US$121 million in 2017. However, volumes remained flat at 47,2mt.
Zimbabwe has three platinum companies and there are greenfield projects valued at nearly US$7 billion in the pipeline.
Chrome concentrates at 192,7mt raked in US$30,4 million during the period, translating to a 25% increase in volumes exported but recorded an 8% drop in revenue. Chrome ore exports rose 315% to 80mt from 19,2mt in the corresponding period in 2017.
The increase in chrome ore exported could be accredited to the scrapping of the chrome ore export ban by government in 2015, which saw the volumes increasing every year, boosting export earnings.
On the other hand, high carbonated ferrochrome at 85,5mt dropped 14% from 99,4mt exported same period last year while revenue dropped 29% to US$81 million from US$113 million in same period last year. Graphite remains low in both periods with a 96% drop in volumes and a 97% decline in revenues.
A total of 21 minerals were exported during the period but the overall picture shows that chrome, both in concentrate and ore, high carbonated ferrochrome, diamonds and nickel remained the top five exports during both years.
Zimbabwe expects to earn US$1,78 billionn from mineral sales in 2018, up from US$1,5 billion last year, driven by rising global demand and increased output in the main minerals.