ZIMBABWE’S mining sector output is expected to rise 16,7% from an initial target of 15% on the back of firm commody prices on the international market, a Cabinet minister has said.
Report by Bernard Mpofu
Addressing a recently-held pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls, Finance minister Tendai Biti said in a presentation that the sector would remain resilient despite a cut in economic growth projections.
Biti, who earlier this year announced the mining sector’s growth projections during the mid-term fiscal statement, is next week expected to announce the country’s National Budget.
“However, new information shows that the growth of 5,6% earlier announced in the Mid-Year Review will likely be revised further downwards to around 4% in view of the new base information for 2011 GDP and some revisions in minerals output,” Biti said.
“Growth in the other key sectors such as manufacturing and tourism, however, remains positive. The 2013 Budget is also being crafted in the most difficult macro-economic environment since the inclusive government.”
The gold and platinum sub-sectors, according to experts, are expected to drive recovery of the mining sector, the country’s top foreign currency earner.
Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s gold output for the nine months to September rose to 11 140kg as the country remains on course to meet an annualised target of 15 tonnes spurred by firming prices of bullion on the international market.
Latest figures released by the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ) showed that production of the precious metal continued to rise driven by increased production by major mining firms and small-scale miners.
The upsurge came at a time the government projects annual gold output to rise to 15 tonnes as the country seeks re-entry into the London Bullion Market (LBM) after it was disqualified when production dropped to an all-time low of three tonnes.
At peak in 1999, Zimbabwe produced 27 tonnes of bullion.