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Zimbabwe Gold Production Up 35% in 2009; Electric Power Still Constrains Growth

Chamber of Mines Economist David Matyanga said the formation of the unity government stabilized all sectors, permitting a vigorous rebound in gold production from 3.1 tonnes in 2008 to 4.2 tonnes in 2009

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said national gold production rose by 35 percent to 4.2 tonnes in 2009, assisted by the political and economic stability resulting from the formation of a government of national unity.

News reports quoted Chamber of Mines Economist David Matyanga as saying the government formed by the former ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai stabilized production in all sectors, resulting in the increase in national gold production from 3.1 tonnes in 2008.

Matyanga said that while mining made a remarkable recovery, most companies were hit by erratic power supplies and shortages of working capital.

Zimbabwe was once the third-highest gold producer in Africa with an output of 27 tonnes in 1997. But the sector collapsed against the backdrop of extended political crisis and accelerating economic decline and disarray.

Calisto Jokonya, a former president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, told reporter Gibbs Dube of VOA Studio 7 that the shift to hard currencies stabilized the economy after years of soaring inflation.