Dealers involved in the extraction and export of granite say more than 2 600 workers may lose their jobs after the government banned the export of unprocessed granite.
Operators who spoke to Zimbabwe Independent said they needed more time to set up beneficiation structures and at present, they are not in a position to process the rock. One of the operators who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity said:
Granite operators have already started letting go of employees as a result of this ban and over 2 600 workers are going to lose their jobs.
We are going to lose not only customers but our competitiveness as they will flock to other markets such as India, Indonesia, and South Africa.
The government recently announced regulations banning the exportation of unprocessed granite unless authorised by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development as part of efforts to accelerate the beneficiation of minerals.
Statutory Instrument 127 of 2022, the Mines and Minerals (Prohibition Order of Exportations of Unprocessed Granite) Notice, 2022, was gazetted by Mines and Mining Development minister, Winston Chitando in terms of section 3 of the Base Minerals Export Control Act.
However, pre-existing valid contracts for the export of raw granite will be allowed to continue until they expire.
This is meant to give operators time to set up their cutting and polishing operations within Zimbabwe or hire others to do so.
Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Polite Kambamura said granite operators were given enough time to set up beneficiation structures before the ban was effected.
According to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), the country exports granite to Italy, South Africa, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, and the United States and Canada.
More: Zimbabwe Independent