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Zimbabwe Reports Big Rise in Volume of Mineral Exports in January-May Period

About 412,000 carats of Kimberley Process certified diamonds from sources other than the controversial Marange alluvial field of eastern Manicaland province, worth some US$23 million, were also sold to foreign buyers

Zimbabwe’s mineral exports for the year through May nearly doubled in volume from the same period of 2009, the the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe announced with January-May 2010 exports totaling 410,000 metric tonnes worth US$400 million compared with 210,000 tonnes worth US$270 million in the year-ago period.

MMCZ Public Relations Manager Pretty Musonza said export volume is up on increased global demand but average prices per tonne have declined because platinum prices are off from their levels last year.

“High prices of nickel boosted the exports and expectations are that this year will record significant mineral exports compared to previous years,” Musonza said.

Platinum from Zimplats accounted for the bulk of mineral sales as the company exported 163,316 ounces worth some US$176 million, while Mimosa Platinum reported sales of US$130 million. About 412,000 carats of Kimberley Process certified diamonds worth US$23 million were also sold during the same period, the state agency said.

Though the Kimberly Process has not certified diamonds from the controversial Marange field of Manicaland province, other diamond mines in Zimbabwe with KP certification were exporting product until recently.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera of the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development said that despite the rise in mineral exports, industrial output remains weak, resulting in a worsening trade deficit.