The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ)’s annual mining conference has kicked off, giving the industry a platform to digest key issues affecting a sector that government says is the nerve centre of current efforts to stabilise and rebuild an economy that has been buffeted by a sea of headwinds.
It has been a difficult year for Zimbabwe as the currency crisis has deepened, while inflation has spiraled out of control, frustrating recovery efforts. The sector was only trying to regain traction from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, when war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, further dislocating global supply chains that had been in turmoil since 2020.
In the next two days, mining industry captains, together with other stakeholders are expected to explore ways of navigating through the choppy waters; to give impetus to Zimbabwe’s hopes to scale up annual revenue to US$12 billion next year, from US$5 billion in 2021. Delegates will discuss several issues including how to unleash potential in the gold sector through a range of funding models to be presented by experts including bankers.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa will officially open the conference. The country’s mining giants including platinum mining giant Zimplats, Caledonia Mining Corporation and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company are represented.
Banks have also increased their visibility at the conference, among them, Ecobank, ZB Bank, CBZ Bank and Nedbank, along with insurers like Cell Insurance and Old Mutual. CoMZ said outlook for the mining industry was positive, buoyed by the encouraging commodity price upturn that has seen mineral prices surpassing long-term projections. CoMZ chief executive officer Isaac Kwesu said the sector was poised for growth this year.
“The outlook for the mining industry is positive. The industry is on a recovery path, rebounding by 3, 4% in 2021,” Kwesu said.
He said most key minerals last year recorded growth with gold rising by 86%, diamond increasing by 51%, coal adding 21% while platinum output advanced by 13%. Kwesu said nickel output increased by 13% in 2021. The conference will run under the theme: Consolidating growth drivers for the mining industry.
The theme, according to Kwesu, recognises current growth and inherent potential of the mining industry as well as the opportunity that entails for the whole economy to align with the government target Vision 2030. The mines chief said the conference comes at a time there had been significant positive developments in the mining industry that has seen commissioning of new mines in key subsectors including gold, coal and lithium.