Bullion, platinum maintain dominance

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GOLD and platinum contributed more than half of the total revenue raised by minerals in the first nine months of this year to maintain their dominance as drivers of the mining sector, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ) has said.

Business Reporter

The statistics showed that $1,4 billion was raised through the sale of minerals during the period under review, with gold and platinum accounting for $483 million and $424 million respectively.

Gold output stood at 10 468kg while platinum was 9 838kg in the period under review. This development came at a time when platinum prices were next year expected to rise by 5% as Zimbabwe pinned its hopes on the capital intensive mining sector to drive the economy.

The sector, according to the CMZ latest report, required $5,3 billion investment to outpace Russia as the second largest producer by 2017.
Palladium, according to the chamber, was at the third position having earned $153,3 million from a total output of 7 567kg, while nickel was fourth with revenues totalling $112million from an output 9 508kg. High Carbon Ferrochrome was at fifth position with $86 million from 8 648kg.

Asbestos production raised $512 083 since production began in January this year, while graphite and iridium raised $3 million and $7 million respectively.

Official figures showed that mineral exports rose by 230% since the 2009-2011 periods, overtaking agriculture as the mainstay of the economy.

Treasury said that as of the year 2011, mineral exports accounted of 47% of total exports with platinum being the leading mineral followed by gold and diamonds.

Average mining share to gross domestic product grew from an average of 10,2% in the 1990s to 16,9% between 2009-2011, overtaking agriculture.

“However, the country has been unable to fully exploit the benefits of high international prices to boost exports further as a result of low investment into the sector,” part of the 2013 national budget read.

Experts say underfunding and limited exploration have over the years stifled growth of the mining sector.