ZIMBABWE earned at least US$5 billion from mineral exports in 2021, as investments by mining entities in recent years boosted output and placed the country firmly on course to meet its target of a US$12 billion mining industry target.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the growth in mineral output benefited immensely from deliberate efforts by the Government to grow one of the country’s key economic sectors since the Second Republic assumed power in 2017.
The minister said measured attention had been directed towards low-hanging mineral projects, which yielded positive results in a short period of time of three to five years.
For instance, the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZimStats) says, nickel mattes earned the country US$1,14 billion, nickel ores and concentrates US$956 million while semi-manufactured gold exports raked in US$1,36 billion in the eleven months to November 2021.
Unwrought platinum earned the country US$186 million. Overall earnings, Zimbabwe’s mineral produce earned the country a staggering US$3,65 billion in 2021.
Presenting at an officer’s lecture at the Rodgers Alfred Nikita Mangena Barracks, formerly Zimbabwe National Defence University (ZNDU) yesterday, Minister Chitando said the sector grew from US$2,7 billion industry in 2017 to US$5,73 billion.
“The final figures will be announced, but we will have about US$5 billion generated by the mining sector in 2021, US$12 billion was structured in a way that looks at some of the low hanging fruits, which had potential to give immediate returns, then some projects which would take medium term to implement.
“Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra has enabled the mining sector to be able to grow towards US$12 billion (industry target).
“The industry was US$2,7 billion in 2017 and the milestone to earn US$12 billion by 2023 was set, around 340 percent target, the fact of the matter is every day we are moving towards the attainment of US$12 billion by 2023, it will be achieved and it is being achieved every day,” said Minister Chitando.
He highlighted that lack of capital had been a stumbling block in the realisation of sound output from the mining sector, a situation stressed had improved with the new dispensation came into power.
“What we have been lacking as a country is capital, we have the minerals, we have human capital, I have said it on many forums that there is no country in this world that has better human capital in mining than Zimbabwe, we do have the human capacity something which has been demonstrated over years but we lack focus on economic development which enables capital to flow in,” he said.
The mines minister noted that economic development was not an event attainable through shortcuts but a process that required serious planning and action.
“Economic growth in any country is not an event but a process, there is a mine that requires five years to build even if you are in a rush you cannot do it in six months.
“So economic development is a process, not an event, the most important thing is to identify the process and start walking in the process,” he added. – Business Weekly