Zimbabwe’s mineral production tumble in Q3 19

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HWANGE COLLIERY, ZIMBABWE - 6 April 2015: Huge trucks excavate coal from an open caste coal mine.
  • Power outages resulted in output losses of around 20%
  • Cumulative gold output at 21 971 kg was below the 2018 average output of 29 524 kg
  • Government was in 2019 targeting a 28% increase in mineral export earnings to US$4,2 billion from US$3,2 billion

Zimbabwe’s mineral output fell by huge margins in the third quarter of 2019 (Q3 2019), quarterly Treasury Bulletin shows.

Driving the plunge in mineral output has been a combination of various constraints, the major one being prolonged power shortages, whilst side marketing activities is increasingly becoming a big concern in the face of unfavourable payment structures offered by government.

“It is estimated that about 80% of the miners suffered regular and prolonged power outages resulting in output losses of around 20%,” reads part of the Treasury report.

Gold output in the period under review at 8 744 kg was 23% lower than the 11 412 kg realised during the same period in 2018 weighed down by low deliveries from small scale miners.

Cumulative gold output at 21 971 kg was below the 2018 average output of 29 524 kg. Platinum output stood at 3 159 kg, about 17% lower than 3 814 kg produced in the same period of 2018.

“Although production efficiencies improved across the three main producers, there were extended maintenance works spilling into third quarter at milling plant at Zimplats causing lower production,” Finance Ministry said.

Other high value minerals including diamond, chrome, nickel and palladium all registered a slump in output.

Diamond output which slumped by 26% was largely on account of reduced throughput at ZCDC due to   stoppage of mining operations in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in March 2019, insufficient investment in exploration, shortages of fuel for plant and machinery and working capital challenges.

Government was in 2019 targeting a 28% increase in mineral export earnings to US$4,2 billion from US$3,2 billion as the sector gears towards its Vision 2030 target of an annual haul of US$12 billion per annum by 2023.

However, due to the aforementioned constraints, it has been projected that the US$4 billion target will be missed.

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