Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE future of Zimbabwe’s mining industry remains bright in the medium-to-long term with output for most minerals poised to register phenomenal growth despite setbacks experienced in the first half of the year, the Chamber of Mines has said.
It noted continued efforts by Government to address bottlenecks affecting miners in its drive to enhance the ease of doing business. Officially opening the Women in Mining Conference on the sidelines of the Mine Entra expo in Bulawayo yesterday, Chamber of Mines president, Mrs Elizabeth Nerwande-Chibanda, said despite subdued mining industry performance in the first half of 2019, hopes for recovery were high and that desired targets will be met in the last half of the year.
“The medium-to-long term prospects of the mining industry remains bright, with output for most minerals expected to record phenomenal growth. Government continues to address the structural distortions and the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Mining is one of the key economic pillars and contributes significantly to export earnings as well as job creation.
The 24th edition of Mine Entra, which began yesterday ends tomorrow and is running under the theme, “Resourcing the Future: Exploring and Leveraging Women’s Potential in the Ministry Industry”.
Mrs Nerwande-Chibanda, said output in the mining sector was projected at 40 tonnes for gold, platinum 15 tonnes, nickel 18 000 tonnes, coal 3,4 million tonnes, diamonds 3,3 million carats, chrome 1,8 million tonnes and lithium 80 000 tonnes.
She said the country’s mining industry was one of the key sectors expected to contribute to the attainment of Vision 2030 of an Upper Middle Income Economy.
“The sector is contributing in excess of 15 percent to Gross Domestic Product, more than 65 percent to national exports, around 12 percent of fiscal revenue, attracts more than 50 percent of foreign direct investment and creates more than 45 000 formal jobs and in excess of one million workers in the artisanal and small-scale operators,” said Mrs Nerwande-Chibanda.
She said Government has already challenged the mining sector to take a lead in realising Vision 2030 adding the target was a US$12 billion mining sector by 2023.
Mrs Nerwande-Chibanda also noted that strong mining sector growth prospects provide opportunities for women.
She said mining companies on their part had taken a deliberate decision to accord employment and business opportunities to women with a view to enhance and mainstream gender balance in the mining sector.
“Mining companies have increased the number of women employed in various positions from shop floor to senior and executive management.
I would like to encourage women to take up employment opportunities as they arise in the sector,” said Mrs Nerwande-Chibanda.
Earlier in her opening remarks Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube, challenged women in mining to promote beneficiation to create jobs for the youths.
“I urge women in mining to create jobs for our children through beneficiation.
Through value addition and beneficiation of Zimbabwe’s resources, you earn more as well as create jobs.
Let us approach the relevant ministries.
“If it means us approaching the highest office let us do so. Let us capacitate other women and the young people because they are our future leaders. Let’s create some jobs,” she said. — @okazunga.