Harare – The Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe will on 7 November 2019 launch the 2019 State of the Zimbabwe Mining Industry report at a local hotel. All eyes are on this annual report, which is coming barely a month after the launch of the US$12 billion mining sector roadmap by Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The mining sector contributes 70% of Zimbabwe’s annual foreign currency earnings. With the country grappling with foreign currency shortages, the 2019 mining sector survey, running under the theme “Prospects for 2020” becomes a key barometer of the challenges, progress and opportunities for Zimbabwe’s economy.

According to the Zimbabwe mining sector roadmap, the major revenue contributor to the anticipated mining sector growth in year 2023 is gold at US$4 billion, followed by platinum at US$3 billion, (chrome + iron ore + steel ) at $US$1 billion, diamonds at US$1 billion and (coal+ hydro carbons) contributing US$1 billion respectively. Lithium is set to contribute US$0.5 billion with other minor minerals accounting for a combined revenue contribution of US$1.5 billion in 2023.

In 2016, small-scale and artisanal gold producers contributed 40 percent to the country’s total gold output while during the same period, large-scale mining companies accounted for 55 percent of total gold output, an official government report claims. It is from this reality that the attainment of US$4 billion in gold revenues by year 2023 requires a robust small scale and artisanal producers’ productivity strategy that will complement efforts of primary gold producers in Zimbabwe.

This US$12 billion mining economy would represent a 344% increase from the US$2.7 billion achieved in 2017. According to the US$12 mining economy report, mining projects take over 10 years from exploration to development and production.

Questions have arisen from international and local analysts on the truthfulness of targeted contributions from Zimbabwe diamonds by 2023, pegged at US$1 billion, which is only 6.7% of former President Robert Mugabe’s alleged US$15 billion diamond revenue leakages in 2017. Zimbabwe government sources claim that the story of the missing US$15 billion diamond revenue was false as there was no evidence to support it.

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings Limited is owed ZWL$1.2 billion (US$77 million) by debtors and has threatened to disconnect defaulters, made up of mining, agriculture, commercial and domestic users in a bid to recover this liability. Chamber of Mines CEO Isaac Kwesu said that ZETDC’s disconnections will not affect their members. The Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe represents big gold and platinum producers, and other miners in Zimbabwe.

With the large scale miners having funded their electricity requirements in foreign currency from regional suppliers, the survey presents an opportunity for players to give feedback on the viability of this government backed private sector energy intervention, in the process sharing challenges and prospects for 2020.