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Zimbabwe on course to more than triple value of mining sector by 2023: minister

Zimbabwe’s mining sector is on course to attain a government target of hauling minerals worth US$12B by 2023, state-run Herald newspaper reported Monday. In 2019, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched a strategic roadmap to achieving the ambitious plan as part of the government’s quest to revive the country’s economy and attain upper-middle-income status by 2030.

Speaking before the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development last week, Mines Minister Winston Chitando said his ministry is assessing the performance of the industry. In the platinum mining sector, Chitando said, mining firms Zimplats, Unki and Mimosa are expanding their operations while new projects are at various stages of development.

Great Dyke Investments, a consortium of Zimbabwean and Russian investors, has opened two box cuts at its site in Darwendale, near Harare, and they would be operational by 2023. Bravura, which is owned by a Nigerian investor, has completed its drilling and would open its first box cut by the middle of the year. Karo Resources, partly owned by South Africa’s Tharisa Holdings, is also completing its exploration.

In the coal and hydrocarbons sector, Chitando said, there are thermal power projects at various stages of development. The sector is expected to contribute more than US$1B to the US$12B target. Chrome production has declined, although ferrochrome producing firms have increased or maintained production, Chitando said. Chinese-owned Afrochine Smelting has installed two more smelters at its plant in Selous, while Zimasco, one of the largest ferrochrome producers, has maintained its production capacity.

In the diamond sector, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), a diamond mining company wholly owned by the government, is looking to produce 3 million carats this year, Chitando said. Another diamond miner, Russian-owned Alrosa, is also developing its sites in Zimbabwe. In the gold mining sector, Chitando said, the ministries of mines and finance and the central bank are working on policy measures to plug leakages and increase deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the country’s sole gold buyer.

“While we await the results of the assessment currently going on, it is clear that the fundamentals for the minerals are in place to meet the US$12B target,” Chitando said.

Under the US$12B mining roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4B, platinum US$3B, while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds and coal will contribute US$1B. Lithium is expected to contribute US$500M while other minerals will contribute US$1.5B. The mining industry, which is the largest earner of foreign currency, is critical to the southern African country’s economy, and the government expects that by 2030, the industry will be generating more than US$20B.

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Source: FurtherAfrica

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