Govt mulls mining sector diversification

FALCON GOLDConrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT is carrying out significant work towards the diversification of the mining sector and has partnered foreign investors as it steps up efforts to ensure a solid base that can withstand pressures that may befall any particular mineral.

A survey revealed that more than 90 percent of the value of Zimbabwe’s mineral output is accounted for by only five key minerals yet the country has more than 60 known minerals 40 of which have been commercially exploited at some point.

Gold accounted for an increased share of the total mineral value in 2015 — 40 percent compared to 29 percent in 2014.

“Mineral revenue appears to have become more concentrated in a few mineral commodities. The top three mineral commodities accounted for 72 percent of total mineral revenue in 2015, up from 69 percent in 2014.

“The top four minerals also bulked up their share to 83 percent in 2015 from 80 percent in 2014. The top five contributed 91 percent in 2015 compared to 90 percent in 2014,” said Dr Albert Makochekanwa while presenting the findings of the survey yesterday.

The survey noted that there is a lack of diversity in the mining sector. Over reliance on a few minerals has seen the country’s revenue base shrinking especially at this moment when international prices for the key minerals are depressed.

But Mining and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told stakeholders at the launch of the report yesterday that Government is aware that only a few minerals have been contributing to the fiscus but this will soon change.

“We have looked at a whole range of minerals. We are working right now on asbestos. We think that in 2016 very significant things will happen on asbestos. Then significant things will happen on tin, lithium as we implement the agreement that we signed last year with the Chinese company to look at those minerals.

“Effectively this is to be able to get those minerals into action so that they can, as they did before, make a contribution to national economic development. So diversification is absolutely important,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

The State of the Mining Sector Survey was commissioned by the Chamber of Mines last year to promote the use of evidence in policy making and foster a shared mining vision among key stakeholders — Government, the mining industry, labour and communities.

The provision of adequate and accurate empirical and factual data is fundamental to the crafting of stable and competitive fiscal and regulatory policies that support the growth and development of the industry.

The State of the Mining Industry Survey seeks to assess the performance of the sector, capturing recent and current trends, developments, challenges, risks, opportunities and prospects; provide Government and other stakeholders an empirical basis upon which to formulate appropriate policies and strategies to foster the growth and development of the mining sector.

The survey also seeks to assess the impact of changes in operating conditions (policy, political, fiscal, market and macro-economic conditions) on mining businesses; gauge the level of business confidence in the mining industry and project its outlook and generate a large volume of statistical and descriptive mining data for use by stakeholders.

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