Gold production declined over the past two years but miners remain optimistic of Zimbabwe’s potential to achieve its target of producing 100 tonnes yearly as challenges experienced by the sector can be overcome.
Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines chief executive officer Mr Isaac Kwesu told the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development recently that gold production had dropped from 35 tonnes in 2018 to around 20 tonnes last year because of erratic electricity supplies and inadequate foreign currency for working capital among other reasons, but that these had been addressed.
A major problem was a lack of meaningful exploration over the years to identify new deposits to open new mines or expand existing ones.
But new measures adopted by Government offered a window of opportunity to revive production and grow the sector.
These include the review of the foreign currency retention ratio to 80:20 for all increases in production, the improved turnaround in payment from Fidelity Printers, and the ongoing processes to come up with a gold sector policy framework.
“This commitment from Government and the private sector to address the situation affecting the sector can result in improved production and achieve our targets,” he said.
Mr Kwesu said the country had in the past experienced slumps in production as recorded in 2008 when it fell to 3 tonnes but improved by over 10-fold over five years.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation expects to ramp up production at its Sabi and Jena Mines to 1,68 tonnes annually by 2023.
Sabi currently produces 240 kg annually while Jena is producing 360 kg. ZMDC has also partnered Kuvimba Mining House to revive operations at Golden Kopje and Evington Mines.
Gold is expected to contribute at least US$4 billion annually towards achieving its target of a US$12 billion industry by 2023.