Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
MINES and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa will officially open the 2015 Mine Entra exhibition to be held in Bulawayo next month.
Close to 60 percent of the available space has so far been taken ahead of this year’s expo compared to 39 percent during the same period last year Mine Entra, which is a specialised annual exhibition organised by the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company for local and international players in the mining, engineering and transport sectors, starts in Bulawayo on July 22 and ends on the 24th.
“Preparations for this year’s show are progressing well and almost 60 percent of available space has been taken compared to 39 percent at this time last year.
“Foreign enquiries have been received from South Africa and China,” said the ZITF Company general manager Nomathemba Ndlovu.
The 20th edition of Mine Entra, Ndlovu said, would be used to assess the development of the Zimbabwe mining sector to see how well equipped it is to take growth and success to the next level.
“In line with this year’s Mine Entra, which will be held under the theme “Unearthing Opportunities,” is a rallying statement challenging the inter-dependent sectors to uncover and take advantage of the potential, opportunities and growth prospects in the region’s mining industry and its related sectors.
“In addition to the networking events and activities which will be unveiled as the campaign progresses, we’ll also be honouring the loyal organisations and personalities who’ve been associated with the show from its inception to date,” said Ndlovu.
The inaugural Mine Entra was held in 1996 against a background of a booming economy and a flourishing mining industry, contributing approximately 43 percent of Zimbabwe’s total foreign currency earnings, according to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe.
Its mandate was to offer an ideal regional forum for mining, engineering and transportation companies to spotlight their latest products, technology and cost-efficiency developments to a fast-growing industry.
The exhibitor profile consisted of specialised companies supplying exploration, extraction, and processing or beneficiation machinery and training requirements for the mining sector as well as suppliers of equipment and machinery relating to the engineering and transport of mining resources.
Over the years, Ndlovu said, the Mine Entra exhibitor profile has expanded to include more sectors such as building and construction which was introduced last year.
“It’s our expectation that as more Community Share Ownership Scheme initiatives come into being under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment regulations, we’re going to see more infrastructural development occurring in mining communities and so the presence of infrastructure equipment and expertise suppliers at this year and in future shows will be more pronounced.
“Supplementary to the platform offered by the exhibition, Mine Entra also encompasses additional networking platforms in the form of industry-driven conferences,” said Ndlovu.
The Mine Entra conference, which is traditionally held on the first day of the event, tackles issues to do with policy initiatives.
“This year will be no different as we want to use the platform to deliberate on the Zimbabwean mining sector’s progress with regards the topical issues of value addition and beneficiation, what the challenges and recommendations are,” said Ndlovu.
As the Mine Entra event grew, 2010 saw the addition of the Joint Producers and Suppliers Conference to its diary of events; its aim being to provide a discussion forum to the mines as well as downstream and upstream industries in the mining value chain on opportunities and constraints.
Last year also saw the introduction of a small-scale and artisanal miners conference.
“This year we’ll be working with the organisers to grow this conference and make it an effective platform for this section of the mining community,” she said.