Zim gold output plunges by nearly 50%

Zimbabwe’s gold production fell by 49% last year due to an adverse operating environment and lack of working capital, the Chamber of Mines announced on Friday.

“During the year 3 576kg was produced compared to 7 017kg reported in 2007, a decline of 49%,” according to the Chamber of Mines annual report.

“The performance of the Zimbabwean mining industry in 2008 is best described as dismal and gloomy,” said David Murangari, Chamber of Mines president, at organisation’s annual general meeting.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai who also attended the meeting, however, said the mining sector presented the country with the most immediate opportunity to attract significant investment.

The “government has a window of opportunity to prepare a conducive policy environment by mid 2010 ... that could see Zimbabwe’s mineral sector attracting between six billion [US] dollars and 16-billion [US] dollars in exploration and mine development investment during 2011-2018 period,” he said.

The report said the major cause of the decline in production was the restricted working capital for production.

“Most mines operated under extremely difficult macroeconomic conditions for the first nine months of the year. Most importantly, there is dire need for recapitalisation of the industry ... the current world recession was something that we in Zimbabwe had not anticipated,” said Murangari.

Gold sector earnings during the first six months of the year also declined to $62,1-million compared to $93,5-million earned the previous year.

Although gold sector earnings have declined, platinum production increased by 8,5% in 2008 compared to 2007.

Annual platinum production increased from 5 085,74kg in 2007 to 5 495,10kg in 2008. - AFP

 

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