Nkosilathi Sibanda, Business Correspondent
IMPROVED production and increase in mineral prices has heightened Government’s confidence to have the sector achieve the US$12 billion mark in the next three years.
In the country’s economic blue print, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), mining is targeted to reach an all-time high contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2023. The sector is contributing about eight percent of GDP. In reaching the US$12 billion goal, the extractive industry would have recorded a 344 percent increase from the US$2,7 billion achieved in 2017, according to Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.
In presenting the outline of the progress on economic and structural reforms in the country on Thursday last week, Prof Ncube said the Government’s goal to grow the industry was realistic. In his top lists of achievements so far, since the TSP launch, the Minister said new mines were being opened, citing the construction of platinum mines along the Great Dyke and coal concessions in Hwange.
“A US$4.2 billion Great Dyke Investments Platinum Mine is already under construction, US$4 billion Karo Resources Mhondoro-Ngezi Platinum Project ahead of schedule. Arcadia Lithium Mine is being developed. Coal production new coal mines opened,” said Prof Ncube.
Production of gold and the recent increase in deliveries by both large scale and artisanal and small-scale miners has seen the Government placing an ambitious target of 100 tonnes by 2023. So is diamond and platinum production.
“Platinum output is targeted to reach 69 350 tonnes driven by expansion of existing capacities and new investments. Diamond output is expected to reach 12 million carats,” said Prof Ncube.
Gold was in the lead in terms of mineral value and was expected to contribute US$4 billion by 2023. Platinum production was earmarked to rake in US$3 billion, chrome, diamond, coal and hydrocarbons (US$1 billion). Lithium and other extractives would contribute US$2 billion.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando announced that the Government was moving on with the “use it or lose it” policy so as to encourage entities to fully utilise their concessions. He said, in an interview with Sunday Business that the Ministry was processing over 200 concessions and the aim was to push for production.
“Currently we have 213 concessions being handled. This is under the lose it or use it concept,” he said.
Meanwhile, authorities have also made revelations that the Covid-19 pandemic had wreaked havoc in the mining sector.
The industry, even though poised for growth, depended on world markets that suffered depreciated mineral output and a decline in commodity prices.