All miners in the world are now eyeing Zimbabwe. Reason: The country is witnessing major changes in the mining sector and Zimbabwe is one of the biggest sources of platinum group metals.
Zimbabwe is witnessing a revival in its mining sector, with major companies committing to a number of significant platinum projects. And, if Zimbabwe decides to tap its mining resources properly, the country will be on way to high growth.
And, new mining investment in Zimbabwe is growing fast despite investor concerns about impending indigenisation legislation.
Again, President Robert Mugabe has told mining company executives that his government had no intention to expropriate the mining industry. This has resulted in several mining firms flocking to the country.
The country has long been an attractive target as it contains the world's second-largest deposit of PGMs in the Great Dyke Formation, which stretches about 550km.
Zimbabwe made more than $500 million from mineral sales during the first five months of the year. The country's income from the sale of 16 out of 36 minerals amounted to $511 million.
The metals sold during the period included platinum, gold, limestone, high carbon ferrochrome, coal, asbestos, chrome, cobalt and copper.
Leading the list of minerals contributing to the national mineral value was platinum, which contributed $168 million, followed by gold with $117 million.The country produced 3,628 kg of platinum from January to May.In January 624kg of platinum worth $7 million were produced while in February the figure decreased to 539kg with a mine value of $6.6 million.
In March, 596kg of platinum valued at $7.7 million were produced while in April the figure slumped to 556kg with a value of $7.6 million.
In May, 587kg of platinum valued at US$8.6 million were produced. Platinum's contribution was closely followed by gold, which during the same period contributed $117 million to the country's mineral output value.
In a recent report, Anglo Platinum, the world's largest producer of the precious metal, has confirmed that its Unki mine will be launched in October, with potential output of 65,000 oz per year.
Impala Platinum also announced recently that its Zimplats subsidiary will press ahead with a $500 million expansion at Ngezi, which is the largest mine in the country.
The number two producer expects the project to improve its annual output by approximately 50 per cent to 270,000 oz of platinum.
Impala is also developing a 50-50 joint venture with Aquarius Platinum, the world's fourth-largest platinum producer, at the Mimosa mine.
The facility is expected to offer output of 200,000 oz PGM in the financial year to June, representing an impressive rise of 20,000 oz from the previous 12-month period.
Zimbabwe is second only to South Africa, where all major mining companies have several operations, in terms of the exploration and production opportunities it boasts.
The view that indigenisation legislation may be softened in the country was supported by recent announcements about capital commitments by significant players in the mining industry.
RioTinto has announced that it has begun work on a $300 million expansion programme for its Murowa diamond mine.