The Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe is projecting a positive growth of at least 10 percent in 2018 on the back of improved mineral perfomance and price recovery across most minerals.
The mining industry grew by 8,5 percent in 2017, up from 8,2 percent in 2016 underpinned by price recovery of gold, nickel and chrome which spurred activities in these sectors.
While the Platinum Group Metals (PGM) sector continued to operate at around 100 percent capacity utilisation, the Chamber witnessed increases in capacity utilisation in chrome , diamond and coal. Decline in capacity utilisation however were recorded in gold and nickel.
Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe president Batirai Manhando said for mineral specific perfomances, the industry is on a healthy footing and prospects for 2018 and beyond remains bright.
In the first quarter of 2018 , 10 of the 14 major minerals recorded increases in volumes compared to the same period last year.
Nortable increases were in gold (up 53 percent), coal (46 percent), nickel (18 percent) and cobalt (13 percent).
“While some nortable milestones where archieved during the period generally most key legislative matters are yet to be finalised or remained outstanding,” said Manhando.
He said the local mining industry is operating below capacity on the back of capital shortages to fund their operations and expansion plans.
Most operators are using antiquated equipment which have severely undermined the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the sector.
At the beginning of the year, the capital intensive mining industry required more than $7 billion in the next five years for both ramp up and sustenance capital. The figure has since been revised upwards to as much as $11 billion with the renewed interest in the sector.
Manhando said due to lack of capital, the country has remained largel under-explored especially using modern methods of exploration. The has undermined the discovery of new deposits and availability of geological data thereby compromising the future of the industry.
He said since 2000 the industry has received less than optimal investments in mineral exploration, both greenfield and brownfield.
“If our mining industry is to sustain growth, we must as a matter of urgency focus on attracting a significant portion of the Africa targeted exploration capital, especially that considerable exploration in West Africa is targeting gold, one ponders why is it that there is little of this exploration into Zimbabwe given our huge potential gold reserves,” said Manhando.