Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Zimbabwe earned US$410 million in mineral exports in the first two months of the year, signifying a 36 percent jump compared to the same period last year.
This is according to statistics availed to The Herald Finance & Business by an official at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
This figure is for all the country’s mineral exports excluding gold.
In 2019 the country recorded revenue of about US$300 million in the same period.
The 36 percent increase this year, however, still fell three percent shot of Government set target of US$422 million in the first two months of the year.
Despite falling three percent off target, authorities will be encouraged by the sharp increase that is in line with Government’s strategy to grow exports from the extractive sector.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is running with a 2023 milestone by which annual exports are expected to reach the US$12 billion mark up from US$2, 7 billion in 2017.
Although Ministers Winston Chitando and Mthuli Ncube as well as the Minerals and Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) were not immediately available for comment, an official at Treasury Department said Government was encouraged by the jump.
He said the increase should especially be read in the context of Covid-19 disturbances, which have rocked China, a major economic global player, from late last year.
“We had budgeted US$422 million for those two months up from about US$300 million in the same period last year,” said the official who declined to be named.
“Of importance is that we had not anticipated the Covid-19 disturbances, which although having gone global around March have hit China since the start of the year.
“So you can clearly see that the increase is a sign of serious work.
“We are quite encouraged that at this rate we will get to the US$12 billion on time,” he said.
The major contributors to this haul came from PGMs, Ferrochrome and Diamonds.
In the case of ferrochrome, Government – under President Mnangagwa – has been consistently hammering on the need for local mineral beneficiation as a means to recoup higher value and creating jobs.
Chances are, however, that there is going to be a sharp decline for the month of March and going into the second quarter due to global travel restrictions as a means of containing the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Zimbabwe can still meet its target as miners have been exempted from the national 21-day lockdown.
In the absence of free global movement of goods, miners are likely to turn to product stockpiling and offload when conditions improve as is expected.