Mining houses in Zimbabwe experienced a bleak first quarter of 2019 as delays and the non-payment of foreign currency earnings by the central bank stifled production.
Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Isaac Kwesu said on Wednesday at a media briefing that preliminary figures indicate that most key minerals recorded negative growth.
“The systematic challenges across most minerals have a lot to do with delays in allocation of foreign exchange.”
In the first three months of the year, Zimbabwe’s gold output was 6.5 tonnes, down 10.95% from 7.3 tonnes over the same period a year ago.
Just last week the country’s biggest gold miner, Metallon, sued the country’s central bank for $132m because it has been paying for the metal in real-time gross settlement dollars – a currency accepted only in Zimbabwe – rather than US dollars.
Zimbabwe hopes to produce 40 tonnes and gold in 2019. Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando is still adamant the target will be met.
Speaking at a press conference Monday, Chitando said, “We still remain on a situation where we’re targeting 40 tonnes. There were some measures which were announced by the Reserve Bank to try and address the competitiveness of the sector and further measures along those lines are to be considered.”