HARARE – Zimbabwe exported over US$866 million worth of nickel mattes, which are a composition of platinum group metals (PGMs) during the January-August 2021 period, up 43 percent than the figure of the same period of time last year, data released by Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) shows.
Nickel mattes, as classified by ZIMSTAT, surprisingly topped traditional heavy-weights gold and tobacco exports in 2020, to emerge as the country’s leading foreign currency earner after racking in US$985.2 million which accounted for 22.4 percent of 2020’s total exports.
By the first seven months of 2020 export earnings from the PGMs basket stood at US$605.7 million and this year’s dominant performance comes on the back of firm global commodity prices.
Using a monthly average of US$108 million means that the country is well-positioned to go above the billion-dollar mark in PGMs export earnings this year.
The firm PGMs earnings performance is a boom for the mining industry amidst the government’s ambitious target to build a US$12 billion mining industry by 2025 coming from a base of about US$2.7 billion as of 2017.
“We hope to achieve the US$12 billion mark with major contributions platinum, diamonds, gold, chrome and steel sector, coal and hydrocarbons,” Mines Minister, Winston Chitando was recently quoted by the Chronicle, on the back of the 2021 Mining Media Awards virtual ceremony.
Zimbabwe is home to vast mineral deposits, most of which remain unexploited. Even so, the mining sector already accounts for the larger chunk of the country’s export receipts.
To realise the potential within the mining sector, there is a need for further investments in exploration and processing equipment to ensure value beneficiation and to also invest in equipment that compliments the “go green” commitments in line with climate change.
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