Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
MINERS operating in Matabeleland South Province have said the construction of an Engineering Laboratory and Innovation Complex at Gwanda State University will improve mining operations in the area.
The mining laboratory is also expected to spur mineral beneficiation and exploration initiatives as the country moves towards attaining a US$12 billion mining milestone by 2023.
The project dovetails with Government’s National Development Strategy (NDS1), which supports establishment of centres of excellence to provide universities and colleges platforms for innovation and domestication of value chains.
The facility will also offer artisanal small scale miners various mining courses after which they will receive certification.
Mine owner and businessman from Insiza District, Mr Khumbulani Nkomo, said the laboratory will go a long way in enhancing their operations.
“I take my samples to a laboratory in Harare due to the unavailability of such a facility here.
Traveling is expensive and time consuming and having this laboratory here will be cost effective.
As miners, we’re willing to partner the project and see it to completion because it will go a long way in enhancing our operations.
“It’s not just going to benefit Matabeleland South province alone but we’re also looking at Mberengwa where there are a lot of miners,” said Mr Nkomo.
“There are a lot of minerals around the university location such as cobalt, palladium and copper.
If we have the capacity for exploration, we’ll discover that it’s not just gold that is found around here.”
He said a lot of miners operate blindly as they test samples while already mining.
“It’s as though we operate before doing a scan and yet, one needs to scan first then operate.
It’s the same as mining, you need to know what you’re dealing with before investing resources in mining a certain area,” said Mr Nkomo.
The university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Doreen Moyo, said the complex was key in addressing the critical skills gap in the country and development of students and communities with critical skills and competencies for future industry needs.
“This set up is therefore imperative in the realisation of a knowledge-based economy, which calls for excellence, relevance and agility in our education system,” she said.
“Matabeleland South province is endowed with mineral wealth and there is need to provide appropriate solutions in exploration, extraction, beneficiation and value addition, which leads to sustained economic affluence.”
As such, Prof Moyo said the complex will enable technology transfer, adaptation, incubation and commercialisation leading to a proliferation of start-ups and spin-off companies within the university structure.
The Engineering Laboratory and Innovation Complex has six laboratories, three staff offices, a computer room, a warehouse, storeroom, boardroom and ablution facilities. – @Yolisswa.