HARARE – Zimbabwe is on track to achieve the targeted US$12 billion mining sector by the end of this year on the back of increased investments and expansion projects, according to Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura.
The gold sub-sector is projected to contribute US$4 billion; platinum (US$3 billion); and diamonds (US$1 billion); while chrome, ferro-chrome and carbon steel will generate US$1 billion; and coal (US$1 billion).
Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million, while other minerals will weigh in with US$1,5 billion.
Mining revenues have grown from US$2,7 billion in 2018 to US$5,3 billion in 2021.
Deputy Minister Kambamura said: “Overall, we are on track to attain the US$12 billion mining economy driven by the ongoing massive expansion projects, opening of new mines and increased exploration by investors in the sector.
“For example, just last year, we witnessed increased activity through the commissioning of projects in lithium, gold, platinum, iron and steel sectors.”
Gold contributed US$2,2 billion in 2021, and a record 35,3-tonne production last year will result in further growth.
Small-scale miners have since set an ambitious target for the next two years.
In 2021, the platinum sector contributed US$2,4 billion.
“Given the large-scale investment by Bikita Minerals, without even talking of investments by other players, we are bound to surpass the projected US$500 million lithium contribution to the US$12 billion milestone,” he said.
There are other new entrants in lithium.
Last year, President Mnangagwa commissioned the US$130 million Sabi Star Lithium Mine in Buhera, which is expected to produce 300 000 tonnes of the mineral a year while creating 900 jobs.
Other investments coming on board this year include the Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe project in Goromonzi near Harare, as well as the Zulu Lithium project in Insiza district, Matabeleland South province, by Premier African Minerals.
In December 2022, Karo Mining Holdings commenced operations on its US$4,2 billion platinum project in Mhondoro, Mashonaland West province.
This is another venture that will materially impact the sector.
In October last year, the President also broke ground at the US$1,5 billion steel plant in Manhize near Mvuma, where Dinson Iron and Steel Company – a subsidiary of China’s largest stainless steel producer, Tsingshan Holdings Group Limited – is building Africa’s biggest integrated steelworks.
The company’s first blast furnace is expected to go on line in August this year.
“In the iron and steel sector, we also have the Disco project, which is coming on board before the end of the year, and this is going to boost iron and steel production in the country while also contributing to the US$12 billion milestone,” added Deputy Minister Kambamura.
“In the chrome sector, we also have, among others, smelting projects by Jinan Mining Corporation and Afrochine that are already operational and ramping their output.”
The diamond industry is targeting to produce 10 million carats on the back of investments and expansion programmes by players in the sector.
“There is a lot of investment taking place in the diamond industry.
“For example, we have Anjin and Murowa that are investing in boosting production.
“Murowa has sunk US$450 million into its mine development programme, which will see the company starting the mining of kimberlite diamonds that fetch more value in the market compared to the rough and alluvial gemstones. With all these programmes, we will be talking of 10 million carats this year.”
Currently, the mining industry accounts for 73 percent of foreign direct investment, 83 percent of exports, 19 percent of Government revenues, 2 percent of formal employment and 11 percent of individual incomes.
It is projected to generate more than US$20 billion by 2030. – Sunday Mail