Zimbabwe’s formal mines added over 50,000 new jobs in 2022 as the industry benefitted from expansion and new projects, according to the Chamber of Mines.
Dave Matyanga, chief economist for the Chamber, which represents the country’s biggest mines, says new investments in Zimbabwe mining last year saw an increase in employment figures.
“The mining sector remains in a positive trajectory buoyed by fresh investments and growth opportunities. In 2022, over 50,000 jobs were created within the sector as a result of the massive fresh capital injection by new and existing players,” Matyanga said.
In its outlook for 2023, released late in 2022, the Chamber of Mines had projected jobs growth of 9% in 2023, based on a survey of mining executives.
Large new projects in lithium last year led growth in the mining sector. This includes the construction of new lithium plants by Huayou Cobalt, Max Mind and Bikita Minerals, plus some expansion in gold and platinum.
Zimplats, which is expanding operations, reported in its last annual report that its labour count grew by 6% last year “as the group resourced for the new capital projects”.
While mining contributes over 75% of Zimbabwe foreign currency earnings, it accounts for just 2% in direct formal employment and just 11% of national income. This is because the bulk of people working in mining are in the informal sector, which produces the most gold.
Despite the growing jobs, the mining sector remains concerned over the policy environment, power supply and global metal prices, according to Matyanga.
The mining sector is leading demand for power from ZESA, which is unable to meet current demand despite adding new capacity this year at Hwange. Local companies are also struggling to raise enough capital to meet their expansion ambitions, the Chamber has previously said.