HARARE, May 19 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s mineral exports increased 27 percent to $852,6 million in the period January to May 12, up from $668.5 million during the same period last year on the back of increased output and firming international prices, a central bank official said on Friday.
The sector is this year expected to grow by 5.1 percent, underpinned by a strong performance in major minerals like gold, chrome, nickel and platinum.
As at 12th May, platinum exports were $333.5 million, up from $282 million last year. In 2016 platinum output rose 12.6 tonnes to 15.1 tonnes.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deputy governor Khupukile Mlambo told the Chamber of Mines annual general meeting that miners had responded positively to the 5 percent export incentive scheme introduced last year to shore up production.
Export earnings from gold are up 3,2 percent to $275,2 million over the period despite deliveries being down slightly at 4,6 tons compared to 4,7 tons last year.
“The gold sector also benefited from the $40 million (initially $20 million) support facility by the central bank. To date, $26 million has been disbursed to gold producers. The facility is earmarked for gold producers who have verifiable and viable quick win projects. It is hoped that the impact of this facility should begin to be realised starting around July 2017,” he said.
Chrome ore and high carbon ferrochrome exports increased from $14.7 million to $104.4 million in the period to May 12 as the sector. The chrome sector was supported by the export incentives, lifting of a chrome ore export ban and general increase in international prices for chrome related products.
“A survey by the (central bank) in April 2017 shows that 9 of the 13 chrome smelters re-opened their furnaces since the last quarter of 2016, resulting in the creation of more than 2,000 jobs. Only, one smelter Afrochine was operational in the first half of 2016. There have been a proliferation of chrome smelters since last quarter 2016.”
In 2016, mining contributed 62 percent to the country’s exports up from 55 percent in the previous year.