Felex Share Harare Bureau
GEOLOGISTS from Dangote Industries Limited, who arrived in the country last week, have taken to the field, making site visits to the areas with limestone, coal and gypsum identified by the government.
The geologists will collect samples for analysis ahead of the setting up of a cement manufacturing plant this year.
Dangote Industries Limited, which has also expressed interest in coal mining and power generation, is owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
The Forbes Magazine estimates the businessman’s net worth at more than $18 billion.
Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga yesterday confirmed the geologists were in the field.
“We have assigned our director for geological survey, Mabasa Hawadi to be with them in the field,” he said.
“When they came here there was a meeting chaired by the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Justin Mupamhanga and we told them that as a Ministry we were ready to take them and indicate the areas where there is limestone, coal and gypsum.
“They are now in the field together with our geologists verifying these areas to see if they are suitable for them. We have already given them areas with limestone, coal and gypsum that we think they will be happy with.”
The geologists came along with the Dangote Group’s chief strategist Abdu Mukhtar who said they felt “comfortable and excited” about investing in Zimbabwe,
Mukhtar said the group had been satisfied with the preliminary work and was ready to roll out its projects.
He said the geologists would be in the country for three weeks for site visits and collection of samples.
“Everything is on track, we are back and happy,” said Mukhtar. “We will continue to come back here this year and 2016 is going to be a very active year. We will be coming in and out to do all sort of things as we kick start the projects.”
Mukhtar, who held a series of meetings with Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and senior government officials, said contrary to negative media reports that the Dangote Group’s investment was a “pie in the sky,” they were ready to roll out their investments.
He said their commitment to invest in Zimbabwe remained high and all the planned projects were on track, adding that they had not encountered any problems with government officials.
The Dangote Group has already registered a company with the Zimbabwe Investment Authority and has been licenced.
The group has a vast business empire that spans manufacturing, logistics and power generation in several African countries, including Zambia, where it has established a $400 million cement manufacturing plant.
Dangote’s investment deals would be a major boost to the economy and they are expected to complement the mega deals Zimbabwe has sealed with China and other countries.