In around 500 mines (other estimates assume a higher number) over 40 different mineral raw materials are mined. These include platinum, gold, chrome, nickel, diamonds, lithium, coal and asbestos. On removal of Zimbabwe, are Chinese, South African, Russian, Australian and British companies involved. Zimbabwe has large deposits of platinum, so with reference to the estimated deposits, the country could be a leader in platinum mining and export after Russia and South Africa.
The Frazer Institute annually assesses the attractiveness of the mining sector in various countries for investors, with Zimbabwe performing very negatively in many categories in 2018. The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe promoted also in 2018 a report on the trust of the industry, on industrial policy requirements and specific concerns of gold, platinum, ferrochrome, gemstone and nickel miner. Foreign exchange income from the mining sector is increasing, but not as much as the extracted resources would lead one to expect.
An estimated 25% of all global rough diamonds are stored in Zimbabwe, which could raise the national budget to US $ 2 billion annually. However, while diamond mining revenues were estimated to be at least $ 122.5 million in 2010, only $ 30.4 million was officially recorded. According to mathgeneral, the Ministry of Mines appealed to the collapse in prices in the international diamond trade and trade restrictions for diamonds from the Zimbabwean Marange Mine. The reason for the trade restrictions were severe mistreatment and shooting of over 300 of the approx. 35,000 illegal miners by special police and army units in 2008/2009, above all a massacre of the army in October / November 2008 with at least 214 dead. The official reason for the operations was to stop smuggling. At that time, police officers and soldiers received no or only irregular and low salaries because of the economic misery. Some even acted as smugglers. The main beneficiaries, however, were high-ranking representatives of the security apparatus and apparently also politicians. In the following years there were repeated violent attacks and human rights violations; the international political disputes over the conflict diamonds continued.
For a time, Chinese operators owned almost 90% of the shares in the mining companies. In this way, the secret service and the military apparently finance arms purchases on a large scale. Some critical political observers even fear the establishment of a shadow government. The Kimberley Process allowed Zimbabwe to sell diamonds from the Marange Mine in November 2011. Nevertheless, the European Union maintained restrictions on the state diamond company. Massive corruption in the mining sector has been a known structural problem since at least 2013 which affected revenue for the state budget. They fell from $ 453 million in 2013 to $ 350 million in 2014; individual reports assumed even lower government revenues and indicate that the export proceeds from diamond transactions were used for the ruling party. According to the mines ministry, corruption and the illegal diamond trade have been prevented for years through direct control of the mines by people close to the president and high-ranking military.
The African Development Bank criticized the concentration as the profits from the mining sector did not reach the treasury and foreign investors would be deterred. In 2015, observers called for more transparency in the mining sector. In mid-2016 and September 2017, criticism of the lack of government revenue due to massive misappropriation of profits from the diamond mines, especially by senior military officials, the secret service and members of the security apparatus, continued. It was about a missing $ 15 billion. In November 2018, more transparency in the mining sector was discussed. In early April 2019, media reported that Chinese companies who had to leave the mining areas in February 2016 due to suspicion of corruption, are supposed to re-start diamond mining together with Russian companies. According to the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), diamonds worth 2.8 million carats were mined in 2018. The mining is to be increased significantly in the following years, an agreement was reached with the Russian Alrosa. According to media reports, Russian investors (Vi-Holding) should also contribute to ambitious production increases in the lucrative platinum sector, which in Zimbabwe is dominated by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Zimbabwe Defense Industry. Other government- related corporations benefit in cooperation with Russian companies in platinum mining, from which high profits are expected.
In early April 2019, it was also announced that attempts by the Zimbabwean government to sell some gold mines to investors had not been successful. In November 2019, the media reported on estimates by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube that 34 tons of gold had been smuggled across the border into South Africa; At the end of December 2019, it was assumed that corrupt Zimbabwean businessmen had smuggled gold worth 60 million US dollars into Dubai and the state was losing revenue. Gold smuggling, including by high-ranking officials, was again scandalized as a problem in early November 2020. Gold was already transported in 2017 and 2016 discredited in plane crashes, illegal trade outside the country was suspected. Gold smuggling for 2009-2013 is estimated at $ 2.83 billion.
Other problems included the fact that gold miners from an involved company did not receive any wages for a long time and small- scale miners are at risk of being injured or killed in unsecured shafts – despite the official approaches to formalizing gold mining. Blackmail and violence by criminal gangs – sometimes on behalf of backers – make it more difficult for the gold miners to secure their livelihood and survive. At the end of 2019, 105 deaths and several injuries were reported.