Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 October, 2010 – Zimbabwe expects gold production to rise 78%this year, according to senior economist at the country’s Chamber of Mines, David Matyanga.
In an interview with Reuters, Matyanga said that production in the year to the end of September had been 5.88 metric tonnes, worth US$224 million (R1.5 billion).
“We anticipate 2010 production to rise about 78% to 8.8 metric tonnes,” Matyanga added, saying that the output included gold recovered by platinum miners.
Zimbabwe produced about 4.9 metric tonnes of gold in 2009, worth US$157 million (R1.1 billion), which was a 39% increase on the previous year, the economist said.
“Electricity shortages remain the biggest challenge to gold miners in Zimbabwe, and most have been forced to invest in diesel generators to bridge the gaps during times of power cuts,” Matyanga revealed. “The country needs urgent investment in the energy sector for mining to reach its true potential.”
Zimbabwe’s gold production began to rise after Finance Minister Tendai Biti allowed producers to sell their gold on the international market in February last year. Previously gold had to be sold to the central bank.
The southern African nation sold 29 tonnes of gold in 1999, a year before a decade-long recession began. Inflation calculated at 500 billion% by the International Monetary Fund; cuts in electricity; and debt owed to miners by the central bank subsequently closed most Zimbabwean gold producers.