HARARE, March 14 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's monthly gold production has fallen short of the targeted 1,100 kilogrammes since the start of 2012, according to figures published by the finance ministry on Wednesday, throwing into doubt a projected annual output of 13 tonnes for the year.
The southern African country's gold mining sector is recovering from an economic crisis which peaked in 2008 as hyperinflation reached 500 billion percent and forced most mines to close.
Gold production reached 8 tonnes in 2011, up from a low of just over 3 tonnes. But output remains well below the 27 tonnes obtained in 1999 before a decade-long economic slide.
"Gold output declined in February 2012 by 11.8 percent from January's output of 1,053kg. Cumulatively, gold output for the months of January and February has reached 1,981kg," the finance ministry said in an economic update.
"The target for the year is 13,000kg, implying monthly averages of about 1,100kg."
Gold has fallen behind platinum and diamonds in terms of contribution to Zimbabwe's mineral exports, the ministry's figures show.
Canada-listed New Dawn Mining and Caledonia Mining , as well as the London-listed Mwana Africa and South Africa's Metallon Gold are some of the major gold producers in the country.