Mining earnings to clock US$8bn this year

The Chronicle

Prosper Ndlovu in Victoria Falls
THE value of Zimbabwe’s mining industry has jumped to above US$6 billion from US$2,2 billion in 2018 and is projected to clock US$8 billion by year-end as the Second Republic forges ahead towards meeting the US$12 million mining milestone come 2023.

President Mnangagwa revealed this here yesterday when he officially opened the 2022 Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe Conference where he applauded the sector for working closely with the Government in transforming the economy through job creation and widening export earnings.

Addressing local and international mining industry executives and key service providers who attended the conference under the theme: “Consolidating Growth Drivers for the Mining Industry”, the President said although he was initially unconvinced of such an ambitious growth target, he was pleased with the strides being achieved by the mining sector whose export proceeds clocked above US$5 billion out of a total US$6,3 billion export earnings last year.

President Mnangagwa addressing delegates at the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines annual conference

“It is encouraging that investors continue to embrace the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra as witnessed by the ongoing investments throughout the mining sector value chain.

“These investments undoubtedly complement efforts towards attainment of the US$12 mining target by 2023,” he told the delegates.

“When Minister (Winston) Chitando first proposed this target in Cabinet, the mining sector value was around US$2,2 billion, and I laughed in my stomach.

“I said ‘2023 is not too far and this young man doesn’t know I have a good memory, come 2023 and he is not even half way of that I’ll fire him’.

Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando

“But I’m pleased that within three years this sector has risen from US$2,2 billion, to now above US$6 billion and is likely to hit US$8 billion or more by the end of this year,” said the President, drawing applause from the gathering.

The US$12 billion mining target dovetails with the Government’s vision of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

As such, the President commended the sector for the notable milestones realised across key minerals production such as gold, which he said rose by 86 percent, diamonds increasing by 51 percent, coal adding 21 percent and platinum by 13 percent, last year.

“This is highly commendable, well done to you all,” said the President.

He, however, has challenged players in the sector to scale up production with more focus on value addition and beneficiation so as to contribute more to the economy.

President Mnangagwa at the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines annual conference

To this end, the President implored the mining and metals industry to ride on the prevailing global boom in commodity market prices and demand for steel in the construction sector, to expand their earnings.

This requires increased investments and absorption of new technologies that will result in improved capacity and efficiency.

The shift towards technology inclined operations is achievable through strategic partnership with relevant training and financing institutions, he added.

Such a thrust is in keeping with global trends towards embracing tenets of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as automation and artificial intelligence across the value chain, and on this Zimbabwe must not be left behind, said President Mnangagwa.

“Gone are the days of exporting products in their raw form. Focus should now be on unlocking value from our rich mineral resource base, for sustainable socio-economic development,” he said.

Delegates follow proceedings

“Beneficiation in mining cannot be achieved by a business-as-usual mindset. It requires the development of the backward and forward industrial linkages within the mining sector, and across the sectors of the economy.”

In that regard, the President said his administration was in constant engagement with the Platinum Group of Metals (PGM) sub-sector to facilitate the setting up of a precious metals refinery plant locally within a shortest possible time.

He further challenged the mining sector to operate responsibly and embrace environmental conservation standards to reduce emissions.

“Emerging environmental and social thrust demands the sector to create real benefits to communities they operate on. I know your focus is to make money, but as you do that, make those people you make money from also happy,” said President Mnangagwa.

He stressed the need for investing in long-term community resilience by prioritising development of environmental preservation skills among staff and urged the sector to thrive towards being a model employer by rewarding workers at favourable levels of remuneration.

“As you grow and develop, employees within the mining sector must not be left behind,” said President Mnangagwa.

Delegates following proceedings at the chamber of mines annual mining conference in Victoria Falls.

In order to foster increased mining growth, he said his Government would ensure there is enhanced infrastructure development as a key enabler and urged the private sector to come on board.

The President, however, expressed disappointment that most roads leading to the mines were in poor condition with the blame being piled on the Government, without the mines who damage them, playing part to support Government efforts.

“It’s critically important that our mineral resources in the country are extracted not for the benefit of the mine operator alone but the community as well,” he said.

“As these are being developed, I urge the sector to remain alive to the importance of inclusivity as well as perspectives and priorities of both the youth and women,” he said.

Delegates following proceedings at the chamber of mines annual mining conference in Victoria Falls.

On its part, the President said Government will continue to timeously address bottlenecks that hinder investment through implementation of various macro-economic policies and measures in support of business and the local industry.

This includes availing of fiscal incentives, rehabilitation of roads, airports and expansion of power generation and dam construction, among others.

The President also acknowledged the gap in power generation saying availability of power was critical in driving mining sector growth and that of other sectors of the economy.

He commended the private sector for implementing various independent power projects in solar and hydro, which helps the country ease shortages.

Minister of State and Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matabeleland North Cde Richard Moyo

In his remarks, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for taking the lead in driving the national vision. He said both small and large-scale miners were recording positive growth with several new investment projects having been commissioned.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Richard Moyo, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr John Mangudya, Chamber of Mines executives, Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa executive secretary, Mr Vusi Mabena, were among key dignitaries who shared their insights with delegates.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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