In 1998, Zimbabwe was the world's thirteenth-largest producer of gold, which is the country's biggest mineral export. Mining contributed 13 percent of GDP in 1997 and generated US$900 million of export revenue in 1995 (amounting to 45 percent of total value of exports), up from US$623 million in the previous year. About 90 percent of mining production is exported. In 1997, gold constituted 14 percent of the value of exports, followed by ferro-alloys at 7 percent, then nickel, and asbestos. Coal is mined for domestic power generation as well as for export, iron ore to supply the steel industry, and phosphate rock for fertilizer production.
Mineral deposits are dispersed throughout the country, but it is the Great Dyke, which runs for hundreds of kilometers from northeast to southwest, that contains the most extensive concentration of mineral deposits. In the 1980s, the state tried unsuccessfully to wrest control of mining from the main mining companies. Anglo-American Corporation controlled nickel and chrome mining, Rio Tinto Zimbabwe mined nickel and gold, Turner and Newall concentrated on asbestos, Lonrho on gold and copper, and Ashanti Goldfields mined gold. In an effort to control transfer pricing , all minerals except gold are required to be marketed through the state's Zimbabwe Minerals Marketing Corporation, but this organization's future has recently been questioned.
Zimbabwe has one of the largest, most diversified, and integrated manufacturing sectors in sub-Saharan Africa, partly due to import substitution policies implemented after the 1965 declaration of independence. The Zimbabwe Steel Corporation (Zisco) is the only full-fledged sub-Saharan Africa steel producer outside South Africa, producing from its Kwekwe plant alone more than 700,000 metric tons annually. Other major industries include Zimbabwe Alloys, which produces ferro-chrome for export; a number of heavy engineering companies working for the mining industry and railways; Dunlop Zimbabwe which makes tires and tubes; car and truck assembly plants; a large pulp and paper firm; and several plastics companies. The removal of protective measures under the 1990 Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) has caused manufacturing's output to contract and its share of GDP to decline to about 18 percent in 1997 from around 25 percent in the 1970s. However, about 40 percent of Zimbabwe's exports are classified as manufactured products, and the recent decline in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar will serve to make Zimbabwean manufactures more competitive at home and overseas.
Although several new buildings have been erected in Harare in recent years, the construction industry has been depressed since the boom of the early 1970s, and its share of GDP has fallen from 5 percent in the 1970s to 3 percent in 1997 as a result of a virtual freeze on large-scale developments. On the other hand, employment in the sector has increased by more than 50 percent to about 80,000 as construction of low-cost, labor-intensive dwellings for Africans has expanded.