Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwe generated US$5,3 billion from mineral exports last year half the US$12 billion mining industry target set for next year with output rising and new mines opening or re-opening, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando said yesterday.
Besides exports there is growing local consumption of minerals, particularly coal for power stations and phosphates for fertiliser with iron ore and the metals used in alloying this about to see far more consumption as three steel mills come into production.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Polite Kambamura, at a Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Assessment awareness workshop in Harare yesterday, Minister Chitando said the vision of a US$12 billion a year required the active participation of all stakeholders.
The workshop was organised for stakeholders in the diamond industry to meet ahead of the country’s second assessment by the Kimberley Process in May.
Diamonds are expected to contribute US$1 billion towards the country’s vision of a US$12 billion mining industry by next year.
“The vision of a US$12 billion mining sector economy requires the working together of all stakeholders involved in the mining sector,” said Minister Chitando.
“The target is attainable as witnessed by the growth of the mining sector during the Second Republic. Last year’s annual mining sector performance stood at US$5,3 billion against a baseline of US$ 2,7 billion in 2017.”
The US$12 billion target would be achieved through a number of measures including enhanced mineral exploration, opening of new and closed mines, projects expansion, increased capacity utilisation, and value addition and beneficiation.
“The value addition of diamonds through cutting and polishing will play a key part in the growth of the diamond sector.
With 10 percent of rough diamonds being set aside for local cutting and polishing, there are opportunities for growth in the sector as we move towards the attainment of the US$12 billion mining economy by the year 2023,” said Minister Chitando.
Turning to the Kimberley Process assessment, Minister Chitando said the workshop was a platform to discuss the country’s state of readiness for the KP review visit, at the same time celebrating the successes made in the diamond sector.
Ahead of the review process, Zimbabwe has already embarked on a self-assessment and will also host the African Diamond Producers Association meeting next month.
Zimbabwe holds the current vice-chairmanship of both the KPCS and the ADPA and will assume chairmanship of both organisations next year as the country is now readily accepted by the rest of the diamond producers and will serve in the rotational posts.
Minister Chitando said reviews had already been conducted at Anjin Investments, RioZim Murowa and Alrosa Zimbabwe.
As the KPCS vice-chairman, Minister Chitando said it was important that Zimbabwe sets the benchmark of compliance to the minimum requirements of the organisation.
Diamond miners that spoke at yesterday’s workshop expressed their readiness for the KP review and outlined development initiatives they have embarked on for communities they operate in, which include construction of schools, clinics and business projects like livestock production.