Mining indaba tackles operational constraints Chamber of Mines CEO Mr Isaac Kwesu (centre)

Leonard Ncube, [email protected]

ENERGY, financial and policy challenges facing the mining sector are expected to take centre stage in today’s discussions at the ongoing mining conference being held by the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls.

Mining executives on Wednesday said the industry is handicapped by power shortages and outages, foreign currency retention and limited access, capital constraints, and policy inconsistencies, among others.
These are negatively affecting the target towards a US$12 billion mining sector by end of this year.

Chamber of Mines chief executive Mr Isaac Kwesu told journalists that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya and representatives from Zesa will address some of the issues this morning so as to improve mining operating environment and create enablers.

“Power outages are the biggest challenge undermining the maximum output that can be generated from Zimbabwean minerals,” he said.

“All mineral sub-sectors are experiencing capital shortages, delays in payments, foreign currency retention and other challenges.

“While the conference is still ongoing, critical issues that affect growth and operations need to be addressed. We need to address the issue not only of power shortages but outages because as new mines come in demand will surge to 2 000MW, which is more than what is being generated. “We need to engage Government and energy sector and we also expect the Governor to address foreign exchange retention, loss of value and other issues,” said Mr Kwesu.

He said financial institutions were unpacking how best they can work with miners in unlocking capital. Addressing the conference on Wednesday, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said dismissed concerns about policy inconsistencies saying there is high level of consistency.

He, however, concurred with the industry on the need to address energy and capitalisation challenges.

“The issue of capital constraints is a reality when looking at domestic and foreign capital. There is, however, scope to come up with a structure to mobilise more resources and our dream is to mobilise domestic capital to fund mining projects,” said Minister Chitando.

The conference is running under the theme: “Mining for economic development: Creating growth enablers for the mining industry.” – @ncubeleon

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