THE rebound in the gold sector is continuing with its contribution to revenue on the increase, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa told Parliament on Monday.
Chidhakwa told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy that gold was the biggest revenue contributor in 2013 with a total value of
“Gold remains the mainstay of mineral production in the country accounting for more than 30% of the total value produced in 2013, where production stood at 14,065kg down 4,49% from 14,742kg in comparable year ago,” Chidhakwa said
About 26% of total gold production in Zimbabwe since 2010 is estimated to come from small-scale mining and about 65% of known gold deposits are estimated to be in the hands of small-scale miners, he revealed.
Of the six tonnes produced between January and July 2014, 1,3 tonnes were produced by small-scale miners , translating to 21,6%.
The contribution by small-scale miners is set to increase following the $100 million equipment loan facility signed between government and Chinese mining equipment suppliers, XCMG.
The country’s mineral value in the year to December increased by 4,2% to $1,96 billion from $1, 87 billion in 2012.
Chidhakwa said in 2008 the country recorded 3,579 kg in gold production, 4,966kg in 2009, 9,521kg in 2010, 12,992kg in 2011, 14,742 kg in 2012 and 14,065kg in 2013.
“Initially, gold output for 2013 was estimated at 17 000kg, but was later revised downwards due to last year’s depressed prices. Globally gold fell by 28% last year, notching up its biggest annual decline in 32 years as prospects for global economic recovery prompted investors to switch to riskier asset,” Chidhakwa said.
He, however, said gold prices reached to all-time highs of $1,920 an ounce in September 2011, but ended last year at $1 201 and currently the price was hovering around $1 290 per ounce.
The minister also said government had received proposals for the revival of Shabanie and Mashaba Mines (SMM) and also for the gold mines under the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation’s Jena, Elvington and Sabi and Kamativi and Mhangura.
He said one of the main tasks was to get SMM going, but the challenge was to get funding.
“In fact we have got proposals not just on asbestos, but also on the gold mines under ZMDC-Jena, Elvington and Sabi and we got proposals for Kamativi
and Mhangura, so we will be evaluating those proposal and l am sure that we will now have a way and a light at the end of the tunnel in respect of SMM,” Chidhakwa said.
“If we get SMM going, I think we can get Kamativi going in the respective areas we would have done a significant piece of work. It’s something that I’m really keen to get going because it will have a big impact on the recovery of the mining sector and the economy.
“We are on it and we are working hard on it and I am very confident that we will get a good result out of it.”