Covid-19 containment strategies that were activated in different parts of the world have had very little if any effect on Zimbabwe’s march towards the US$12 billion mining industry target, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura has said.
Minister Kambamura’s remarks come as several sectors of the economy, chief among them tourism, have borne the brunt of world travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Consequently, Zimbabwe is this year poised to lose close to US$1 billion in potential revenue from the tourism sector.
However, Deputy Minister Kambamura said Zimbabwe is well on course towards achieving its 2023 milestone of a US$12 billion mining industry and will not be pointing to this year as an excuse for anything.
“Most of our projects were not affected,” said Deputy Minister Kambamura.
“Yes there were some delays in the shipping of capital equipment for some projects, but these are not a threat to what we are targeting.
“If anything there has been huge progress in our projects this year during the pandemic. Look at examples such as Great Dyke Investment (platinum project) in Darwendale, Shamva Gold Mine reopening and expansion this year, (and) the coal projects which His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) toured in July.
“So the point I am making is that we are on track and we will register even more progress in the coming year because the foundation is now there,” he said.
The mining sector is one of the first sectors which got a Government exemption to continue operations when the Government announced lockdowns in March, albeit under strict Covid-19 mitigatory measures.
This was done as a strategy to make sure that the economy is allowed to continue functioning and supporting the needs of individuals and companies during and beyond the pandemic.
Deputy Minister Kambamura’s assertion is further buttressed by statistics on the country’s export earnings from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Speaking at this year’s launch of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe 2020 mining sector survey in October, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said mining exports together with diaspora remittances compensated for losses in other sectors.
Mining in particular, Governor Mangudya said, has provided the spine for the country’s exports with its contribution in the period ending September 30 totalling US$2,4 Billion compared to US$2,1 Billion last year.
The strong performance of the mining sector is also credited for the success of the RBZ’s foreign currency auction system which has been credited at bringing the currency stability that the country now enjoys.
“You are doing a fantastic job in mining, you give us hope,” Dr Mangudya told mining executives. Mining grew by 14 percent compared to last year . . . that’s a significant increase, despite Covid which affected the prices of Chrome.