Min­eral ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion the way to go, says min­is­ter

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Whins­ley Masara

MINES and Min­ing Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Wal­ter Chid­hakwa says re­vi­tal­is­ing the econ­omy re­quires more in­vest­ment in value ad­di­tion and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources so as to in­crease earn­ings.

The value ad­di­tion thrust is a key com­po­nent of the coun­try’s eco­nomic blue-print, Zim-As­set, which ex­pires in 2018.

Zim­babwe is a net ex­porter of pre­cious raw min­eral re­sources such as plat­inum, gold, di­a­monds and chrome but suf­fers re­duced earn­ings in the con­text of weak­en­ing global com­mod­ity prices and lack of a ro­bust do­mes­tic re­fin­ing in­dus­try.

As such, Min­is­ter Chid­hakwa says a de­lib­er­ate move has been taken to push the ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion agenda on the coun­try’s min­eral re­sources.

He told del­e­gates at a re­cent min­ing ind­aba in Bu­l­awayo that the Gov­ern­ment has set­tled for the set­ting up of a plat­inum re­fin­ery in the coun­try and re­sus­ci­ta­tion of the Kwekwe gold roast­ing plant as part of pri­or­ity projects.

He said these projects would ben­e­fit in terms of in­creased in­vest­ment, rev­enue, em­ploy­ment and tech­nol­ogy.

“By es­tab­lish­ing such projects there will also be up­ward, down­ward and side eco­nomic link­ages, which will have rip­ple ef­fects across the whole spec­tra of the econ­omy,” said Min­is­ter Chid­hakwa in a speech read on his be­half by a top min­istry of­fi­cial Mr Valen­tine Vera.

“At the heart of our coun­try’s eco­nomic blue print is the ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and value ad­di­tion of our nat­u­ral re­sources at large and min­er­als in par­tic­u­lar.”

The Gov­ern­ment has said an in­vestor for its wholly owned Kwekwe re­frac­tory plant has been found as ef­forts to re­vive the as­set which has been idle since 2000 gather pace. The iden­ti­fied in­vestor will take up a 49 per­cent share­hold­ing while Gov­ern­ment will con­trol the re­main­ing 51 per­cent.

The Kwekwe roast­ing plant has ca­pac­ity to process about 9 000 to 10 000 tonnes of con­cen­trate per an­num and its re­sus­ci­ta­tion is ex­pected to in­crease vol­umes to the na­tional gold out­put. The re­frac­tory plant ceased op­er­a­tions in 2000 and Gov­ern­ment trans­ferred own­er­ship of the as­sets to the Min­er­als Mar­ket­ing Cor­po­ra­tion of Zim­babwe on con­di­tion that the cor­po­ra­tion would pay all the li­a­bil­i­ties that the roast­ing plant had. The roast­ing plant was es­tab­lished in 1937 to as­sist small and medium scale min­ers around Kwekwe in the pro­cess­ing of dumps or re­frac­tory gold ore. These dumps have an es­ti­mated 350 000 met­ric tonnes of ore and ac­cord­ing to Pea­cocke and Simp­sons Min­eral Pro­ces­sors, they con­tain 97 220 ounces of gold worth $140 mil­lion at cur­rent prices. The Gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to re­place roast­ers with new tech­nol­ogy to im­prove re­cov­ery of gold and re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the plant.

Min­is­ter Chid­hakwa said his min­istry has also em­barked on ini­tia­tives such as gold mobilisation, con­sol­i­da­tion of di­a­mond min­ing, lift­ing of the ban of chrome ore ex­ports and es­tab­lish­ment of min­ing cadas­tre.

“It is en­vis­aged that these ini­tia­tives will in­crease lev­els of prof­itabil­ity, par­tic­i­pa­tion by indige­nous Zim­bab­weans and trans­parency in the min­ing sec­tor and min­er­als will be op­ti­mally ex­tracted,” he said.

“The min­istry also plays an im­por­tant role in pro­mot­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal jus­tice. Mines are en­cour­aged to take care of the en­vi­ron­ment and should ad­here to EMA re­quire­ments. There is need to en­sure sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion through­out the life­span of a min­ing project.”

The min­is­ter said the Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to bring­ing about de­sired so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion through min­ing sec­tor re­forms that are be­ing im­ple­mented. — @win­nie_­masara

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.