- July 13, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Zimbabwe’s mineral exports marginally dropped by 3% to US$799,6 million in the first four months of the year, largely weighed down by gold as well as nickel ores and concentrates, data gathered by Mining Zimbabwe Magazine shows.
By Dumisani Nyoni
Data gathered from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) show that during the first four months to April this year, the country exported minerals worth US$799,6 million, down 3% compared to the same period last year.
Gold, which is one of the country’s biggest foreign currency earners, fell 7% on prior period to US$289 million while nickel ores and concentrates tumbled 32% to US$102 million.
Other minerals that recorded a drop include ferrochromium by 24% to US$59m, chromium ore by 27% to US$13m, bituminous coal by 21% to US$1,2 million, and refined copper by 12% to US$517 383.
Increases were recorded in nickel mattes which raked in US$267 million, diamond (US$43m), unwrought platinum (US$18m), granite (US$5,8m), gypsum and anhydrite (US$85 377) as well as niobium and tantalum at US$996 745.
The country’s mining sector is currently under immense pressure brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted the supply chain.
The sector lost more than US$200 million in revenue during the first 30 days arising from a total lockdown in the country due to COVID-19, according to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ).
Mineral production for the second quarter of 2020 is expected to decline by about 60% compared to the first quarter, with revenue losses exceeding US$400 million.
Gold and platinum are expected to have a loss of about US$160 million while potential revenue loss for nickel, ferrochrome, coal, and diamonds for the second quarter of 2020 is estimated to exceed US$100 million.
“Most mining companies are facing reduced productivity and production due to scale down of operations on the back of lockdown in transit and buyer countries,” reads CoMZ’s report titled Economic impact of COVID-10 on the mining industry: Proposals for intervention measures.
CoMZ said the situation had been exacerbated by difficulties in securing inputs for production and replacement capital due to widespread lockdown in source markets.
Artisanal and small scale miners, who account for more than 60% of gold delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FRP), are operating under unfavourable conditions.
For instance, FPR the country’s sole gold buyer pays them a fixed rate of US$45 per gram which is not responsive to gold price movements on the international market.
They also face electricity shortages coupled with inadequate equipment.
This article first appeared in the July 2020 issue of Mining Zimbabwe Magazine