BULAWAYO companies should position themselves to tap opportunities offered by the growing investment in the mining sector in Matabeleland region and be able to meet raw material supply demands and the required technology for mining operations, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Freddy Moyo has said.
He said the growth of the mining sector in the southern region should give impetus to the city’s firms.
“Minerals are at the centre of this country’s economy with 50 percent of revenue coming from the sector. Mines also consume 50 percent of electricity while manufacturing industries receive 30 percent of their inputs from mining.
“If Bulawayo industry remains out of step in terms of modern technology required in mines, then there is a problem because the mines will have no one to supply,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
“The National Railways at its peak has 40 percent of its cargo coming from minerals. Mining is also critical for the construction industry with regards to social infrastructure and roads.”
He said quite a number of established mining firms were operating in Matabeleland and that more investment was expected especially in Matabeleland North.
Deputy Minister Moyo said the opening up of new coal mining firms in Hwange area and coal bed methane gas exploration in Lupane, new power plant establishment in Gwayi and concentration of gold mining in Matabeleland should ignite life in the city firms.
He said out of 60 minerals found in Zimbabwe, 22 were from Matabeleland region.
The deputy minister added that his ministry was going ahead with establishment of gold centres with assistance from China to consolidate contribution of small scale miners in gold output.
At present Fidelity Printers and Refiners is the sole buyer of gold in the country.
“We’ll have eight gold centres in Matabeleland South and four in Matabeleland North. We will set up banks, security, accommodation and catering facilities in these centres.
“We’ve not decided how to allocate these centres but legislation and fiscal support is needed for this. We need to capacitate gold miners and this will benefit women in mining as well,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said the region was geared for incredible changes in economic activity in terms of mining and hinted that the Lupane gas exploitation, which has started, would be awarded special economic zone status.
Deputy Minister Moyo said cement production was also set to increase after discoveries of limestone deposits in Kezi in Matobo district.