BY THANDAZO NYONI
THE Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) says export revenues from the country’s resources, excluding gold could reach US$3,2 billion this year, after surpassing 2021 targets in only eight months.
MMCZ general manager Tongai Muzenda told NewsDay Business at the just-ended the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair that revenues from the sector, excluding gold, hit US$2,4 billion at the end of August, against a US$1,5 billion annual target.
“As a nation, we have done relatively well on mineral sales. Up to the end of August we have sold US$2,4 billion worth of minerals. Obviously, that’s excluding gold. That is against a budget of US$1,5 billion which means we are close to US$1 billion above budget and this is attributable mostly to good prices, not necessarily volumes but quality of exports,” Muzenda said.
For the same period last year, Muzenda said mineral sales raked in US$1,4 billion.
“For example, the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has been talking about value-addition and we have seen some mining companies really going into value-addition. Whether it’s platinum or PGMs, whether it’s chrome, there is a lot of smelting, and in granite there is cutting and polishing happening and we will continue to encourage that,” he said.
“It is actually part of the mandate of the MMCZ to encourage value-addition. So, it’s not new but we are enhancing it and there is more support and push from the top that we should go into value-addition.”
“I hope as we go forward, this trajectory will continue because now we are about four months left in the year, if we continue at the same level, I wouldn’t be surprised that we reach the US$3,2 billion for other minerals except gold,” he said.
Muzenda said platinum group of metals contributed more than 50% of total sales, making it the biggest contributor.
“There are also other minerals which are doing well including ferrochrome and coke, among others. But for almost all minerals, prices are going up. I don’t know what gold will be like but I reckon it could be as high as US$2 billion,” he said. “If we do that, we would have done US$5 billion and our dream by 2023 is to get to US$12 billion and we are on the right path. I strongly believe at some point in time we will get the US$12 billion. If we miss it by 2023, we will make it by 2024 but we will make it at some point. So, the future is looking good and we should continue to ride on this wave of good pricing of our minerals.”
Muzenda said the world demand for minerals was “very good” and Zimbabwe should continue concentrating on value-addition for maximum benefit.
He supported Cabinet’s recent decision to ban all exports of raw chrome ore with immediate effect and exports of chrome concentrates from July 2022 in order to secure the ferro-chrome industry, which it says is integral in the country’s attainment of the envisioned US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.
He said value-addition helped to create and preserve local employment.