The Zimbabwe Annual Mining Conference is set for next week in Victoria Falls under the theme ‘Navigating Turbulent Times’. The event which is expected to be graced by the President, His Excellency Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, will have different guest speakers, among them the honorable Minister Winston Chitando, CEO Namibia Chamber of Mines and other International Speakers and will be held following all COVID-19 necessary precautions.
The year 2020 was not a very good one for the Zimbabwean mining industry. The year which was clouded by challenges/structural and systematic conditions saw the mining industry operating below capacity and seems 2021 was not spared of these challenges either, as was reviewed earlier today at the Zimbabwe Annual Mining Conference press briefing.
The COVID-19 pandemic which had the whole world bowing down had an immediate impact on the whole global economy, an impact that goes across all industries, including mining. The Zimbabwean mining industry wasn’t an exception as it experienced an avalanche o of bearish sentiments in the commodity markets. Diamond, coal and other minerals registered a negative growth. There was a lower production in Q1 which also contributed to a negative growth in most of the commodities where gold, nickel, PGMs & Chrome where the most affected.
COVID-19 impacted heavily on the industry, it gravely disrupted the whole mining supply chains, economies, the social fabric and stretched service delivery capacities. For instance, production of ASM gold and sales to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), which is the sole legal buyer of gold in Zimbabwe, declined in 2020 due to government lockdown measures and movement restrictions which were aimed at containing the spread of the virus but resulted in reduced workforces at ASM gold sites, leaving many unable to earn an income and leading to a reduction in production.
However, irregardless of the bad start in Q1 2021, the mining sector projects a better Q2 and is expecting an overall positive outlook in the rest of the year: Q2-Q4.