Miners project $2bn export receipts

HARARE - Zimbabwean miners are expected to contribute about $2 billion to the fiscus generated from export receipts this year on the back of volatile metal prices, the Chamber of Mines has predicted.

The organisation’s president Toi Muganyi said the sector, which has seen an increase in small-scale gold miners, expected the international commodity prices to remain unfavourable except for gold prices which have been steadily firming.

“Our projection is that in gold we should be able to do 24 tonnes, platinum 16 tonnes, nickel 18 tonnes, chrome 220 000 tonnes, coal about 2,6 million tonnes and some two million tonnes in diamond carats.

“We should be able again singularly as a mining industry to be able to contribute close to $2 billion in proceeds from mineral proceeds,” he told delegates at the mining sector outlook meeting in the capital yesterday.

Minerals are the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner, after raking in about $981,4 million by Friday last week claiming 64,3 percent of the country’s national export receipts.

Muganyi, who is also Freda Rebecca gold mine managing director, said despite the depressed international prices, total mining output had increased by about nine percent in the first half.

“Notwithstanding subdued mineral prices, the value of mineral output; excluding diamond, coal and chrome; for the first half of 2016 increased by 8,8 percent to $806 million, from $741 million during the same period in 2015 on the back of strong output performance from  key minerals,” he said.

During the first half, coal output slumped 53 percent to 653 396 tonnes from 1,3 million tonnes prior comparable period as chrome surged 250 percent to 47 913 tonnes from the 13 697 recorded for the same period last year.

Copper output was up 21 percent to 4 782 tonnes from 3 937 tonnes while gold production surged 17 percent from 8 869 tonnes to 10 360 tonnes with nickel also

improving 15 percent to 9 101 tonnes from 7 918 tonnes.

Palladium output also rose 45 percent from 4 417 kg to 6 402 kg while platinum production surged 43 percent to 7 968 kg from 5 561 kg.

The chamber president said with the exception of gold, average prices for all key minerals during the first half of 2016 were lower than the same period in 2015.

“Average gold price for 2016 was $1 219/ounce, compared to $1 206/ounce for the comparable period in 2015, while platinum price at $958/ounce, was 18 percent lower than $1 161/ounce recorded in the same period in 2015,” he said.

Nickel price remained subdued, averaging $8 600/tonne in the first half of 2016, compared to $13 707/tonne in 2015.

However, large-scale gold producers increased output by seven percent to 5 701 kg in 2016, from 5 324 kg in 2015, while deliveries from small-scale producers surged by 31 percent from 2 863 kg to 3 748 kg for the comparable period.

“Of the 10 360 kg produced during the first half of 2016, 55 percent was accounted for by large-scale primary producers, while 36 percent and nine percent came from small-scale and secondary producers, respectively,” Muganyi said.

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