By AUSTIN KARONGA

ZIMBABWE’S finance minister Mthuli Ncube has projected a positive outlook for the mining industry buoyed by the high demand from China and the ongoing economic recovery.

Presenting the 2021 mid-term budget last week, themed, Building Resilience and Sustainable Economic Recovery, Ncube said higher international mineral commodity prices was one of the pillars anchoring the economic rebound.

“By end of the first quarter, most minerals had recorded 20-27 percent of the annual output target, save for gold with 13 percent.

“Measures are being instituted to compensate for the first quarter loss of production as well as sealing of leakages in order to attain the original growth projection of 11 percent.

“Government recognises the importance of capacitating the ministry of Mines in order for the country to derive value from its minerals.

“Therefore, the 2021 national budget allocated $1, 4 billion towards the operations of the ministry. A total of $561 million (40 percent) has so far been disbursed.

“In view of the above supportive reforms, mineral output performance remains more or less of course supported … favourable international mineral prices, boosted by strong demand in China and the ongoing global economic recovery.

“This is notwithstanding some challenges relating to flooding and in some cases, collapsing of some mines during the past rain season,” Ncube said.

This comes as the government has put in place mechanisms to empower artisanal miners in order for them to continue playing a significant role in the industry.

“There has been capacitation of small-scale miners through the Mining Industry Loan Fund ($7, 5 million) … In addition, the Artisanal and Small Scale Miners Strategy is being developed.

“Cumulative gold output for the first quarter of 2021 stood at 4 311kg, about 13 percent of the annual target and lower than the comparable period in 2020, largely weighed down by low deliveries from artisanal and small-scale gold sectors.

“Large scale producers delivered about 2 291kg during the first quarter of 2021, about 11, 2 percent above the same period in 2020 … the improved performance during the month of June was against a slight retreat of international gold prices,” he said. – Daily News