Extractive Industries

Oil and Gas

No commercial deposits of petroleum have been discovered, although the country has substantial reserves of coal (>500Mt), utilized for power generation, and coal-bed methane (largest gas field in Southern or Eastern Africa) which is yet to be fully exploited. 

Mining - Minerals

Zimbabwe is rich in mineral resources including coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals and diamonds and nationally about 40 minerals and mineral-based commodities have been produced. It is the world’s seventh largest producer of lithium (2%), and sixth largest producer of chrysotile asbestos (4%) and vermiculite (2%). Gold, platinum group metals (PGM’s) and chrome form the principal endowments. Zimbabwe is estimated to have 13% of the world’s chromium reserves, mainly in the Great Dyke. Chromite production declined by 27% in 2008 with Zimbabwe accounting for 4.7% of total output from Africa. In the last two years the country has slipped from the world’s fifth to eighth largest chromite producer. In the African continent Zimbabwe has the second largest reserves and is the second largest producer of PGM’s after South Africa. In 2008 it registered a 4.2% increase in platinum production. In terms of world production the country is ranked fourth for platinum (2.3%) and fifth for palladium and other PGM’s (1.7%). Gold production, which was the traditional mainstay and foreign currency earner, has plummeted over the past five years with the closure of several mines. 2008 production was half that of 2007 and was one sixth of the 2004 output. Zimbabwe is now ranked the tenth largest gold producer in Africa with the main contribution derived as a by-product of PGM production. In 2008 production decreases were also registered for ferrochrome by 24.4%, mined nickel (25.4%), asbestos (44.7%), phosphate rock (57%) and coal (19%). Iron ore production remained unchanged but pig iron and steel production ceased. Diamonds were one of the few mineral commodities with a production increase (14.7%) and in 2008 Zimbabwe was rated as the seventh largest producer in Africa.