In 2003 Zimbabwe produced 366 737 t of iron ore in comparison to 271 812 t in 2002. The Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) control iron ore mining and beneficiation in Zimbabwe. Subsidiary BIMCO (Buchwa Iron Mining Company) currently exploits the Ripple Creek mine, which supplies iron ore and limestone as feeds for the ZISCO steelworks located within the city of Redcliff in central Zimbabwe. The ZISCO steelworks are sub Saharan Africa’s second largest steel industry (after South African ISCOR). Iron ore production has dropped dramatically, with 2001′s production at 361 000t, down from 2000′s 450 000t.
The government has declared losing making Zisco a strategic company and it has contracted Chinese and German companies to help transform it around.
Mining was Zimbabwe’s leading industry in 2002, contributing 27% of export trade. The chief minerals were coal, gold, copper, nickel, tin, and clay, and Zimbabwe was obviously a world leader within the manufacture of lithium minerals, chrysotile asbestos, and ferrochromium, exceeding 50 % of the world’s known chromium reserves. Zimbabwe was self-sufficient generally in most minerals, producing 35 commodities from 1,000 mines, mostly small, and exporting 90% of its mineral output. The whole worth of mineral production exceeded $500 million annually, as well as the mining sector employed 60,000 people in formal operations; another 100,000-300,000 were considered to be informally employed intermittently in panning for gold. Of total exports of $1.92 billion in 1999, mineral and manufactured metal exports accounted for $550.8 million, down from $736.Six million in 1995.
The most crucial mineral was gold, valued at $194 million in 2000, down from $244 million in 1999. Gold was the second-leading export commodity ($230 million), followed by ferroalloys ($166.5 million), nickel ($48.A million), asbestos ($35.8 million), iron and steel ($12.5 million), black granite as dimension stone, copper, diamond, coal, chromite, tin, and silver. Exports of polished granite were expected to reach $100 million in 2000. Steel production was the second-leading industry in 2002, and also the output of cement, chemicals, and fertilizers ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.
The year 2000 was obviously a difficult one for Zimbabwe and its mining sector, using a contracting economy, high unemployment, along with a 60% inflation rate. Our prime costs of domestic borrowing, a serious shortage of fuels and spare parts, an overseas currency shortage, and military support for the civil war in Congo begun to damage operations, and forced several small mines to shut. Moreover, the state-sanctioned expropriation of business farmlands threatened to spill up to the mining sector, and the high incidence of HIV/AIDS 25% from the 15-49-year-old population was infected aadded substantially towards the mining sector’s labor costs, through absenteeism, lost productivity, treatment, and skill replacement.
Production in 2000 declined by 17% – 60% in nine major commodities: chromite, coal, copper, diamond, gold, iron ore, nickel, phosphate, and silver. The gold sector was just about the most affected sectors with the industrial economy in 2000 three major mines and several small operations, like the Connemara, the Eureka, and also the Venice mines, closed and gold production declined for the first time in Twenty years. Output was 22,070 kg, down from 27,666 in 1999. Ashanti Goldfields Co. Ltd., of Ghana, had remaining measured and indicated mineral resources at Freda-Rebecca of 15.8 million tons (2.6 grams per ton of gold), that 5.8 million tons (2.4 grams per a lot of extra gold) were proved and probable. Ashanti seemed to be going through the nearby RAN gold-copper property.
Creation of other major minerals included chromite (gross weight), 725,000 tons; asbestos, 145,000 tons, down from 165,000 in 1996; mine copper concentrate (metal content), 2,104 tons, down from 10,000 in 1996; nickel, 8,160 tons, down from 11,164 in 1999 and 12,963 in 1997; lithium minerals (gross weight), 41,957 tons, down from 49,833 in 1997; granite, 130,000 tons, up from 109,903 in 1997; diamond, 16,678 carats, down from 421,307 in 1997; iron ore (metal content), 225,000 tons, down from 300,000 in 1999; and marketable phosphate rock concentrate, 110,000 tons, down from 126,000 in 1999. The Madziwa nickel mine was closed down in 2000, the Mhangura Copper Mines were near depletion, and Munyati Copper Mines Ltd. suspended operations in 2000, following its abandoned sale. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, copper replaced gold and asbestos since the most effective mineral, however its production has not yet kept pace with other minerals. Zimbabwe also produced iron ore, palladium, platinum, rhodium, selenium, silver, tin, barite, hydraulic cement, clays (including montmorillonite bentonite and fire clay), emerald, feldspar, graphite, kyanite, limestone, magnesite, mica, nitrogen, phosphate rock, quartz (including silica sand), sulfur, talc, and vermiculite. National PGM metal production fell by 80% from 1998. No antimony, lead, zinc, or iron oxide pigments was produced in the past a long period.
Gold panning was legal, but, by the Gold Trade Act, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe stood a monopoly on purchasing and exporting of gold and silver produced in the nation. The revised code also permitted unlimited foreign currency to companies that exported a lot more than 75% of their production, and mining companies were able to keep 5% of these export earnings, to buy imported garbage. Coal deposits within the Hwange area were substantial.
Excess government intervention in the economy and in state-run industries has become a major contributor to the growing quantity of closed mines and suspended projects, undermining ale the mining sector to build a lot more than 25% of export earnings. The us government continues to be making efforts to privatize its interests within the energy, mining, and rail sectors, and also to loosen its foreign currency rules. Although the short-term outlook was not favorable, the natural resource endowment and a well-developed infrastructure remained in place.
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