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BizDay Zimbabwe

Gold tops minerals output

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GOLD remained the mainstay of mineral production in the country accounting for more than 30 percent of the total value produced in 2013, latest mineral statistics show.According to statistics obtained from the Ministry of Finance, gold production stood at 14 065 kilogrammes, down 4,49 percent from 14 742kg in the comparable year ago period (2012).

The total gold value was at US$626,11 million. At half year, the value was at US$329,43 million. The country’s mineral value in the year to December amounted to US$1,96 billion, from 2012’s US$1,87 billion, an increase of 4,2 percent.

Initially, gold output for 2013 was estimated at 17 000kg but was later revised downwards due to last year’s depressed prices. Global gold fell 28 percent last year, notching up its biggest annual decline in 32 years as prospects for global economic recovery prompted investors to switch to riskier assets. Gold prices reached to all-time highs of US$1 920,30 an ounce in September 2011 but ended last year at US$1 201.

Analysts have also attributed the decline in gold production to the Government’s ban of mining activities along river banks. Small-scale miners, which contribute about 60 percent of the country’s gold were  mostly involved in gold mining along river beds.

Platinum production was at 13 065kg with a value of US$554,006 million. The white metal increased 24,14 percent from 2012’s 10 524kg. According to projections, if US$5 billion is invested in the mining sector, platinum production is expected to reach 21 000kg in 2016 while gold will rise to 50 000kg. Zimbabwe is targeting to become one of the top five gold producing countries in Africa within the next three years.

Palladium production came in at 10 152kg with a value of US$205,79 million, high carbon ferrochrome was at 129 553 tonnes with a value of US$127,039 million while nickel production was at 14 057 tonnes with a value of US$158,05 million.

The mining sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of growth, contributing more to gross domestic product. However, there is need to ensure that the sector’s fiscal obligations are met through enhanced compliance in terms of remittance of mining tax revenue.

Presenting the 2014 National Budget in December last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa expressed concern the  over leakages of mineral revenues.

“Leakages in the mining sector, involving both established and small scale miners, are depriving the country of huge amounts of revenues,” said Minister Chinamasa.

“Such revenue losses are through malpractices such as smuggling, under-invoicing, and externalisation of export proceeds, among others. Government is, therefore, working on measures to strengthen accountability and security systems for mining houses in order to improve transparency and timely remittal of fiscal obligations to Treasury.”

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