Zim­babwe mines need USD 11bn to mod­ern­ize…

Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Zim­babwe needs up to $11-bil­lion to mod­ernise its mines and boost pro­duc­tion to max­i­mum ca­pac­ity over the next five years, the head of the coun­try's Cham­ber of Mines said on Friday 18 May. For­eign in­vestor in­ter­est in the south­ern African na­tion is grow­ing af­ter the fall of long-time leader Robert Mu­gabe fol­low­ing a de facto mil­i­tary coup last Novem­ber but projects are still con­strained by lack of fund­ing.

Bati­rai Man­hando, Cham­ber of Mines pres­i­dent, said with the ex­cep­tion of plat­inum pro­duc­ers, all other mines, in­clud­ing those of gold, nickel, cobalt and coal were op­er­at­ing be­low their in­stalled ca­pac­ity.

Min­ing gen­er­ates more than half of Zim­babwe's ex­port re­ceipts – last year it earned $2.8-bil­lion – but in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives say it has the po­ten­tial to earn more with in­creased in­vest­ment.

"The lo­cal min­ing in­dus­try is cur­rently op­er­at­ing be­low ca­pac­ity on the back of cap­i­tal short­ages," Man­hando told an an­nual meet­ing of the min­ing cham­ber.

"At the be­gin­ning of the year the cap­i­tal in­ten­sive in­dus­try re­quired $7-bil­lion for both ramp-up and sus­te­nance cap­i­tal. The fig­ure has lately been re­vised up­wards to $11-bil­lion with re­newed in­ter­est in our sec­tor," Man­hando said.

Zim­babwe holds the sec­ond largest de­posits of plat­inum and chrome af­ter South Africa and has lately seen in­creased in­ter­est from lithium in­vestors, who, how­ever, say fund­ing still re­mains a hur­dle.

Man­hando said min­ing com­pa­nies in Zim­babwe faced prob­lems that in­cluded high costs of elec­tric­ity, labour and roy­alty fees when com­pared to other ju­ris­dic­tions. There had also been lit­tle ex­plo­ration in the coun­try since 2000, he added.

Equip­ment at most mines was more than 50 years old, se­verely un­der­min­ing ef­fi­ciency and cost ef­fec­tive­ness of the sec­tor, said Man­hando.

Mines Min­is­ter Win­ston Chi­tando said the gov­ern­ment would an­nounce a new "min­ing vi­sion" at the end of June and pro­jected that the out­put of gold could rise to 85 tonnes in five years.

Out­put of gold, the big­gest min­eral by earn­ings, is ex­pected to rise to 30 tonnes this year from 23 tonnes in 2017, ac­cord­ing to Min­istry of Mines data.

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