VICTORIA FALLS – The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ) says it is working out strategies to increase platinum output to 50 tonnes by 2030, in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision to transform the ailing southern African country into an upper middle-class economy in a decade.

The industry produced 14,6 tonnes of platinum in 2018. But both government and the private sector hope that by increasing output of the key resource, efforts towards achieving this ambitious national target would be easier to achieve.

These numbers were announced on Thursday by outgoing CoMZ president, Batirai Manhando at the opening of the industry’s annual general meeting here.

He said along with plans to increase platinum output, the industry was targeting a sharp rise in gold output to 100 tonnes in five years.

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“The session on the gold industry will discuss strategies for achieving the government gold output target of 100 tonnes by 2023 while the platinum session will explore strategies to achieve 50 tonnes of platinum by 2030 and maximise the contribution of platinum resources to the economy,” said Manhando.

“The gold sector is by far the largest in terms of contribution to the economy, contributing 40 percent of the country’s exports and contributing 18 percent of its revenue to government. There are more than 500 000 players in the small-scale mining sector. But the sector is continuously weighed down by foreign currency shortages and delays in the allocation of foreign currency. There are power shortages and high cost structures. Addressing these factors will be key to achieving the 100-tonne target by 2030,” Manhando told over 300 delegates attending the annual conference.

So huge has the interest been in the development of the two key minerals to help Zimbabwe ride out of its current struggles that the CoMZ has dedicated two symposiums on gold and platinum to discuss how best to exploit them.

“We are having intensive discussions on gold and platinum industries growth strategies in line with the need to unlock the potential in the two minerals,” Manhando said.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation president, Henrietta Rushwaya said among the biggest drawbacks to the growth of gold output was the centralisation of the mineral’s marketing to Fidelity Printers and Refineries, a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe unit that has the sole authority to buy the mineral.

She said government must immediately do away with the monopoly in order to improve miners’ options.