Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM)’s Zimbabwe branch chairman S Matutu said that the adoption of new and more efficient technologies is no longer a choice but an absolute necessity as the mining industry faces challenges due to volatile and falling international commodity prices.
The mining industry is facing among other issues challenges of low ore grades, rising costs of production and lower revenue.
“This situation calls for innovation in the minerals industry in order to come up with better and more efficient ways of production,” Matutu said.
According to Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe’s (MMCZ) Marketing Manager, Ottilia Furusa, the general mineral outlook is not bright given the fact that most commodities are not doing very well on the international market.
Although well-established mines can afford new technologies, small-scale miners, who are expected to contribute at least 13 tonnes of gold to national output this year, up from 9,7 tonnes that they produced last year, may find it hard to acquire the new and efficient technologies.
Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-scale for Sustainable Mining Council (ZASMC) president Engineer Chris Murove said that miners were lacking adequate mining and milling equipment.
Small-scale miners, who are also complaining of high mining charges have not been able to develop into well-established corporations that can afford the mining equipment.
The Zimbabwean government chipped in to help by working on to access equipment from the Asian countries of China and South Korea.
The commodity prices of metal and mineral prices have been slowly recovering from the 2007- 2008 economic recession as the growth of the economy decelerated.
However, the increase in prices is set to continue this year owing to a rise in demand for ferrochrome by Chinese stainless steel companies.