Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
INVESTORS from Canada and the United States of America have shown keen interest in tapping economic opportunities in Zimbabwe, buoyed by the reforms under the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa.
Last week, a Zimbabwean delegation comprising Government and private sector officials led by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando held a mining conference in Canada to lure foreign direct investment into the country’s lucrative mining sector.
Speaking by telephone from Harare on Monday, Minister Chitando said they had travelled to Canada with a view to explain Zimbabwe’s economic policies, vision, plans for the future and opportunities in the mining sector.
“We went there to sell our case. There were over 140 delegates and the event was sold out. The event was more of an investment showcase but there was massive interest from the investors to the extent that there was a very strong plea that we should come back and do the conference again in another part of Canada,” he said.
The Fraser Institute ranks the North American country as the most attractive region for mining investment globally. Canada leapfrogged Australia to become the world’s leading mining investment destination, based on the combined rankings of all its provinces and territories.
“It’s quite interesting that at the mining indaba in Canada, there was a lot of interest in exploration and that is also quite pleasing because you know we have been lacking on exploration,” said Minister Chitando.
Following the conference in Canada, he said the Government expects to see follow-up inquiries from investors interested in penetrating Zimbabwe’s mining sector. The investors who attended the mining conference in Canada were mostly Canadians and some entities in the mining sector from America.
A few years ago, the Government indicated plans to undertake an aeromagnetic mineral exploration exercise in the Eastern Highlands. An aeromagnetic survey is a common type of geophysical survey carried out using a magnetometer (a scientific instrument used to measure the strength and/or direction of the magnetic field) aboard or towed behind an aircraft.
Over the past three decades, Zimbabwe has not carried comprehensive exploration to determine the extent of its mineral wealth.
The country last carried full-scale exploration prior to independence in 1980 and officials of the Ian Smith-led government took away the data.
Official data indicates that Zimbabwe is actively mining only 10 out of a possible 60 minerals.
Key minerals being mined include gold, platinum, diamonds, nickel coal, copper, chrome and the latest, lithium. Exploration data is considered critical towards attracting investors and determining the amount of resources to be committed towards exploiting a mineral. — @okazunga