Kuda Bwititi recently in Qatar
Zimbabwe is targeting to produce 100 tonnes of gold per annum in five years, the country’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Last year, the Southern African nation raked in about US$1 billion from gold, which is one of the top earners of foreign currency in the country.
Zimbabwe has rich gold reserves totalling millions of tonnes but the resource remains largely under-exploited owing to various factors such as lack of capital and limited machinery.
Last year, the country produced 24 tonnes of gold, its highest total in more than a decade but authorities believe there is scope to produce even more and become one of the top producers of the yellow metal in Africa.
Addressing Zimbabweans living in Qatar at an interactive forum in Doha on Tuesday, President Mnangagwa said: “In the mining sector we were working the figures last night with Mines Minister (Winston) Chitando.
“In terms of gold production alone, last year we had 24 tonnes but this year we are getting at least 30 tonnes. According to the plans we have, we should be able to get 100 tonnes of gold in the next five years.”
President Mnangagwa said at its worst, Zimbabwe produced a mere three tonnes of gold per annum but the increased output shows strides made so far.
“During our period of isolation, we went as low as 3 to 6 tonnes. So, you can see how rapidly we are growing in that area and this makes us confident that the 100 tonnes target is not beyond our reach.”
The President paid tribute to Chitando, a former chief executive of platinum producing company, Mimosa Mining, as a “fundi” in the mining sector.
“He is doing fantastic work. He is a fundi who knows the sector very well and he is giving us the results.”
Zimbabwe’s rich gold reserves do not mirror the country’s struggling economy which has failed to leverage on the rich mineral wealth that the country possesses.
Zimbabwe is also seeking to learn from Qatar which has made the most of its rich oil and gas reserves to become one of the richest countries in the world.
President Mnangagwa has in the past said gold was like a low hanging fruit, which needs to be optimally harnessed by increasing production times so as to increase output.