Gold production from both small-scale and primary producers, more than doubled in the last twelve months on the back of firming international prices, the latest African Development Bank (AfDB) report has shown.
Metal prices changed direction several times throughout the year, but ended weaker in 2011, except for gold. From January 4 2011 to December 30 2011, gold firmed by 13%.
Platinum, copper and nickel declined by 22%, 22% and 27%, respectively, over the same period.
During 2011, prices responded positively (firmed) to the weakening US dollar as investors looked for safe haven for their cash.
During 2012 the price of gold averaged $1 600 per ounce.
The ongoing uncertainty vis-à-vis the potential outcome of the current European debt crisis continues to affect commodities and foreign exchange markets.
“Gold production from both small-scale and primary producers registered positive growth rate in 2011,” said AfDB.
“The small-scale producers increased their production from as low as 125kg in January 2011 to about 429kg in December 2011.”
The AfDB said although there were some fluctuations in June and November, deliveries generally followed an upward trend.
“The same was experienced by the primary producers who started the year at 599kg and closed the year with a production of 882kg,” reads part of the report.
“A marked improvement can also be noticed from the small scale producers who managed to increase their share of production from 17% to 32% during the same period. This is despite the fact that in June their percentage contribution came down to 13%.”
In its November 2011 report, AfDB said small-scale gold producers have increased gold deliveries and now contribute over 50% to total output.
AfDB said the role of small-scale players in the gold sector in Zimbabwe was becoming more pronounced in the mining industry.
“The total gold deliveries from the small-scale players increased from 126,5kg in June 2011 to 388,1kg in October 2011,” reads part of the November report.
“There was also a noticeable increase between September and October 2011, as gold deliveries by the small-scale players increased by 49% from 260,1kg in September.”
Last year the mining sector is estimated to have grown by 25,8% with mining exports growing by about 38,7% contributing about half of the exports last year.
The leading exports were platinum, contributing 45% and gold contributing 24% of the exports, with diamonds third, contributing 10%.
This year, mining is anticipated to remain the major driving force behind overall economic growth, benefitting from further private injections, international commodity prices and anticipated initiatives to minimise electricity supply interruptions.