New Market Report: Zimbabwe Mining Report Q4 2013

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Fri Oct 25 2013

Despite abundant reserves, Zimbabwe will achieve only modest growth over the forecast period to 2017 due to weak global prices and a deteriorating business environment. Platinum production will be the main driver of growth, while growth in diamond output will be modest and the country will remain a very small producer of gold.

Zimbabwe is richly endowed with deposits of chrome, gold, nickel, diamonds and platinum, among other minerals. Its gold reserves are among the largest in Africa, while it has the world's second largest platinum reserves. Another segment that has caught the attention of miners in Zimbabwe is diamonds, following the discovery of a number of significant kimberlites.

The election victory of ZANU-PF is likely to spell trouble for the future of the mining industry. The possibility of indigenisation without compensation as well as greater political interference in the sector, constitute significant threats to foreign mining companies. We expect investor sentiment to sour towards Zimbabwe, diverting investment to other African countries where the regulatory environment is more attractive.

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In the longer term, if Western companies do decide to end their Zimbabwean operations as a result of indigenisation, China is eager to enter. Such an arrangement could well be preferable for President Robert Mugabe, who might prefer to deal with Chinese investors willing to take a minority stake in Zimbabwean mining operations, and who would bring significant amounts of funding to the sector. China has not imposed sanctions or withheld budgetary aid to Harare in recent years, unlike Western powers. This would appear to give Beijing the edge over Western interests.

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