ZIMBABWE continues to export its major minerals in a raw or semi-processed form, resulting in the country losing billions of dollars in potential revenue, official data has shown.
According to findings from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat), during the month of December 2021, the country exported 4 417 kilogrammes of semi-processed gold valued at US$248,1 million, compared to 2 455 kilogrammes valued at US$139,1 million in the previous month.
The country exported nickel mattes valued at US$107,9 million in December 2021, compared to US$82,5 million in November, 2021.
Data also shows that in the period under review, Zimbabwe’s main exports were semi-manufactured gold (42,0%), nickel mattes including platinum group of minerals (PGMs) (18,3%), nickel ores and concentrates (13,4%), tobacco (9,8%), ferro-chromium (3,3%), platinum in powder form (3,0%), skins and hides (1,7%).
“It was noted that major minerals produced in the country such as nickel concentrates and nickel mattes were exported in a semi-processed form, while nickel ores (including PGMs) are exported in a raw form,” the report stated.
Exporting of PGMs in their raw form comes at a time when the government has imposed a ban on raw chrome, a move meant to encourage chrome miners to invest in beneficiation facilities.
Zimbabwe is endowed with rich natural resources which are crucial ingredients for growth and development.
But, as official data shows, the country’s exports are predominantly raw and semi-finished agricultural commodities and minerals, meaning these are low-value added products as far as export earnings are concerned.
The government has been preaching value addition and beneficiation of primary commodities with little success.
Value addition involves the conversion or transformation of primary commodities into intermediate or finished goods to maximise benefit of derived value.