Mining earnings rise in first quarter of 2015

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THE mining sector recorded an improvement for the first quarter of 2015 with gold and coal recording significant increases in output compared to the same period last year.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ) chief executive officer Isaac Kwesu on Friday said the mining industry during the first quarter of 2015 grossed $452 million compared to $443 million recorded during the same period last year.

Kwesu, however, said the sector was facing depressed prices, high tariffs and sub-optimal royalties.

“Gold output increased by 2,5% from the first quarter of 2014. Coal was up 55% and nickel was up 5%,” Kwesu told journalists in Harare.

Gold has been a major earner in the mining sector since 2009 with small-scale miners contributing over 60% of the output as platinum declined for the third consecutive quarter by 1%.

Chrome recorded a major decline of 45% during the quarter under review compared to other resources.

“The major factor for chrome is the cost structure with plus or minus 50% of cost being electricity consumption,” Kwesu said. The sector is, however, expected to grow by 3,1% this year.

Meanwhile, the CMZ will hold its 76th annual general meeting and conference at Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls this week.

The meeting will be held under the theme ‘Shared vision, shared values, shared benefits’: A roadmap for the Zimbabwe minerals sector.

CMZ president Winston Chitando said the conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on the founding principles and values underpinning the mining industry and explore how they could build consensus in the mining sector.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be the guest of honour at the conference.

The meeting will be attended by officials from the World Bank, United Nations Economic Commission of Africa, Mining Associations of Southern Africa and others.

The delegates will also discuss beneficiation, fiscal measures to stimulate investment and growth.