Zimbabwe is considering carrying out an extensive inventory of minerals, with a view to assess its potential and assist in the evaluation of revenue contribution to the fiscus, Finance Minister, Tendai Biti has hinted.
Biti said the minerals audit would ensure the country gets a full appreciation of its natural resources to derive maximum benefit and improve transparency and accountability in the mining sector.
This is contained in 2012 Budget Strategy Paper (BSP).
“Furthermore, the finite nature of extractive resources necessitates that communities also benefit from the exploitation of such resources.
“The contribution of the mining sector to the fiscus remains subdued in spite of the firming of mineral prices,” Biti wrote.
“To maximise the contribution of the mining sector to the fiscus, the BSP proposes the undertaking of a study on the inventory of minerals in the country with a view to assess the potential throughput and value.”
Commodity prices have surged globally in recent months as investors move into less volatile investment options on the back of the credit and debt woes that have hit Europe and other global markets.
Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire on Tuesday told parliament that more than 500,000 carats of diamonds are being extracted monthly at the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Mbada Diamonds extracts approximately 164,489 carats per month, Marange Resources, 104,713, while Anjin, which has stocks of between 2,5 million to 3 million carats of diamonds because they are not yet certified to be sold extracts 234,749.
Biti said the country has predominantly exported unprocessed primary products over the years, despite benefits that could be derived from increased export earnings and employment as a result of value addition.
He said lessons on treatment of raw chrome exports would be useful as indications were a tonne of raw chrome is sold for under $200 yet it could fetch $1 200 per tonne after value addition.
The mining sector, alongside the agricultural sector, was expected to continue underpinning economic growth in Zimbabwe, with Biti optimistic that Zimbabwe would manage to reach Gross Domestic Product growth of 9.3 percent this year.
Biti, however, said economic growth was likely to slow down next year.