Ishemunyoro Chingwere, Harare Bureau
AUSTRALIA Stock Exchange (ASX)-listed miner, Invictus Energy Ltd, has described Zimbabwe as an excellent investment destination, way ahead of several other African countries.
The company, which is working towards exploiting oil and gas in Muzarabani, added that local investment opportunities presented very high prospects of returns.
This was revealed by Invictus’ board chairman, Dr Stuart Lake, when he engaged the media yesterday after a series of meetings that he, and his delegation held with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and other stakeholders in relation to the Muzarabani investment.
Dr Lake also described President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” policy as real, adding that his company was not in Zimbabwe as a “hobby” but for serious business.
The delegation from Invictus has been in Zimbabwe for the past three days for ground work ahead of moving on site where they expect to continue with exploration work, by drilling the first borehole in the first quarter of 2020. The borehole is expected to cost between US$15 million to US$20 million.
The resource prospect has had its potential upgraded by independent desktop exploration results to be holding up to 1,3 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) or alternatively an estimated resource of 206 billion litres of oil.
Dr Lake said the impression of his delegation after their high level engagements was that Zimbabwe is genuinely open for business and is now one of the best investment destinations on the continent.
He said engagements between his company and Government had left them in no doubt that this is the best time to set up office, start employing locals and continue with the risky exploration work, which they are confident will yield positive results.
“We are saying Zimbabwe is open for business. We are here on the ground to set up our office now in Zimbabwe and we will be bringing out some job adverts shortly,” said Dr Lake.
“It’s not just rhetoric (that Zimbabwe is Open for Business), absolutely. I am not involved with this as a hobby, you have to understand.
“I am successful, I have been successful and would want to be successful, so I see an opportunity here. I have been to a lot of African countries, I have lived in Cairo (Egypt) as a case in point for two years; I have spent a lot of time in Ghana, I have been to Libya, South Africa and so forth (but), I am impressed (by Zimbabwe).”
Dr Lake said Zimbabwe was “a fantastic country”, with “great opportunity”.
He added that Zimbabwe was “beautiful”, inhabited by “beautiful people”.
“I think there is a great opportunity here going forward,” he said. Dr Lake said they have seconded a technical director, Mr Brent Barber to lead the team resident in Zimbabwe in driving work in Muzarabani.
In line with President Mnangagwa’s wish to leverage Zimbabwe’s success on the back of mineral resources, Dr Lake said they were “developing, with Government, a win-win (project) going forward”.
“We, as a company are willing to take up all the upfront risk in terms of coming into the country, spending the money on doing the sites, drilling the boreholes,” said Dr Lake.
If the project succeeds as widely expected, the Muzarabani oil and gas project will boost Government revenues from the mining sector, which were about US$4,3 billion last year, to US$12 billion by 2023.