Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is set to headline the country’s leading Mining, Engineering and Transport exhibition (Mine Entra) to be held in Bulawayo in the next few weeks.
Commonly known as Mine Entra, the specialised exhibition, which returns after a two-year absence owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre between July 20 and 22.
The exhibition will run under the theme, “Explore, Extract, Expand: Towards Sustainable Mining Value Chains.”
The premier gathering of mining, engineering, transport and construction industry stakeholders provides a platform to engage in productive discussions for the creation of an enabling environment for the growth and development of the mining industry.
It also incorporates a display of mining equipment, chemicals and protective clothes as well as insurance and security services, which are needed by miners.
In an update yesterday, The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company chief executive officer, Dr Nicholas Ndebele, said President Mnangagwa will officially open the two-day event.
“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, HE Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to be the guest of honour and will deliver the keynote address during the Mine Entra Conference and official opening ceremony being held on Thursday 21 July 2022,” he said.
He said President Mnangagwa will be accompanied by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando who is also the patron of Mine Entra and other senior Government officials.
Dr Ndebele said preparations are gathering pace and four exhibitors from China, South Africa and the United Kingdom have already confirmed participation.
“To date, 115 exhibitors have confirmed participation by taking up 3 340 square metres of exhibition space, representing just over 66 percent of capacity,” he said.
Dr Ndebele said in the past two weeks, the exhibition executive team has been engaged in a series of high-level stakeholder engagements in preparation for the Silver Jubilee edition of Mine Entra.
He said they met Minister Chitando as well as other critical mining industry stakeholders where discussions revolved around formatting the exhibition in a manner that reflects the needs of the industry, as well as canvassing for support and participation.
“We also visited selected foreign diplomatic missions based in Zimbabwe representing countries with thriving mining economies and or strong investor pool for the mining sector,” said Dr Ndebele.
Some of the countries visited include Australia, Botswana, Canada, DRC, India, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey and Zambia.”
More engagements are planned for the coming weeks as officials want the exhibition to reflect the pivotal role that the extractive sector plays in Zimbabwe’s economy.
The mining industry is one of Zimbabwe’s economic mainstays with the sector presently contributing about 70 percent of the country’s foreign currency earnings.
The Second Republic has come up with a mining industry roadmap whose target is to grow the sector to a US$12 billion industry by 2023 with the gold sector expected to generate US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion and chrome, iron, steel, diamond and coal contributing US$1 billion. Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million while other minerals will contribute US$1,5 billion.
“To that end, we invite companies supplying exploration, extraction, processing or beneficiation machinery and training requirements for the mining sector as well as suppliers of equipment and machinery relating to the engineering and transport to exhibit,” said Dr Ndebele.
The exhibition will have several knowledge-sharing platforms and focused dialogues catering for the different segments within the mining value-chain including small-to-medium scale mining as well as women and youth in mining.
The forums are aimed at discussing ways to harness the country’s mining potential, identify markets for our minerals, improve mining operations to ensure sustainable exploration, extraction and processing of minerals to benefit citizens, said Dr Ndebele.