ZIMBABWE'S mineral exports dropped to US$1,86 billion last year from US$2 billion realised a year earlier, latest figures from the Chamber of Mines show. Gold contributed more than a third of the total exports of US$782,7 million while platinum came in second with total shipments of 10 524 kilogrammes valued at US$464,5 million.
Coal exports totalled US$50 million from 1,6 million tonnes. But the figures do not include coal exports for December.
Nearly 6 700 tonnes of copper valued at US$39 million were exported as well as 138 000 tonnes of high- carbon ferrochrome worth US$139 million.
About 408 400 tonnes of chrome valued at US$49 million were shipped.
The mining sector has been the country's most active sector, leading economic recovery since 2009 with an average annual growth of 30 percent. Supporting this growth was the strong external demand for primary commodities, particularly platinum and gold.
Last year, the mineral exports accounted for half of the country's foreign earnings.
Economic analysts say the growth trajectory in the sector would continue given that many firms were likely to shore up their investments as most of them have embraced the indigenisation policy, previously viewed as an impediment to FDI.
Some of the big companies that have complied include Zimbabwe Platinum Mines, Mimosa Mining Company and Unki Platinum Mine.
Anglo American Platinum, the world's biggest platinum producer, said in November last year it was planning to open a new mine in Shurugwi. Amplats subsidiary Unki Mines' chief financial officer Mr Colin Chibafa said the new mine would cost US$400 million, with the potential of doubling output from Zimbabwe.
Unki said it was expecting to produce about 65 000 ounces of platinum last year.
Zimbabwe Platinum Mines' US$461 million Phase Two expansion would be completed in the next two years.
The company said the second phase of the expansion project, expected to significantly boost Zimplats' annual output to 270 000 ounces had been slowed down as a result of the company's capital preservation measures.
Zimplats would also begin considering building a platinum refinery in the country once the annual combined production reaches 500 000 ounces.
Blanket Mine said it is planning a further US$37 million investment over the next four years.
Bindura Nickel Corporation will start milling next week and hopes to raise US$23 million through a rights issue and plans to raise additional US$9 million towards year end.