Transforming Zimbabwe’s mining sector: A path to prosperity President Mnangagwa

Vusumuzi Dube, Zimpapers Elections Desk

“OUR mining sector is the proverbial frog. When Minister Winston Chitando came to Cabinet with his target of a US$12 billion-dollar mining economy by 2023, I was skeptical. To my mind, this was a case of sheer exuberance by a youthful minister seeking cheap impression through hyperboles. The figures were staked against him.

“Yet barely four years later, in 2021, the mining sector earned US$5,2bn! Its earnings had nearly doubled in those four short years. As I write, the first half of 2022 has seen our earnings from mining at more than USD2, 66bn, up from USD1, 9bn achieved during the same period in 2021.”

The above was written by President Mnangagwa on 24 July 2022 in his weekly column published in The Sunday Mail and Sunday News in summing up the positive trajectory being witnessed in Zimbabwe’s mining sector.

Under the Second Republic, Zimbabwe has witnessed remarkable growth and transformation in its mining sector.
This positive trajectory is marked by the creation of jobs, increased investments, and an ambitious drive to position the sector as a thriving US$12 billion export industry by the end of 2023.

The Second Republic under the leadership of President Mnangagwa set its sights on tapping into the immense potential of the country’s mining sector.

Zimbabwe is endowed with abundant mineral resources, ranging from gold, platinum, diamonds, and lithium, among others.

With the opening of new projects and a focused approach to economic development, the sector is poised to play a significant role in contributing to the growth of the national economy.

The country’s mining sector has recorded a cumulative total of US$20, 2 billion in export earnings in the past five years spurred by the improved investment climate ushered in by the Second Republic whose pro-business policies have lured back foreign direct investors.

Driven by President Mnangagwa’s economic diplomacy-focused re-engagement and engagement foreign policy, Zimbabwe has made huge strides in normalising bilateral, regional, and international relations, which has resulted in increased trade gains and new investment pitches. Unlike in the past when mining earnings averaged an estimated US$2, 7 billion per year, the sector has recently registered gains in line with the ambitious US$12 billion milestone.

Some of the major mining projects that have been launched in the past couple of years and doing well in achieving this set milestone include the Muchesu Coal Mine in Binga, Matabeleland North province owned by a British-owned firm,

Contango Holdings, Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ) in Arcadia, Goromonzi district, a member of Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Company Limited and Manhize steel project in the Midlands which is owned by Dinson Iron and Steel Company and is set to Africa’s biggest integrated steel works.

Old mines which had shut, have since reopened, these inclusive of Eureka, Shamva, Radnor, RioZim Cam, Motor Biox Gold Plant and Sinomine Bikita Minerals.

Speaking during the most recent commissioning of Muchesu mine in Binga, President Mnangagwa summarised the achievements that have been attained in the mining sector declaring that the US$12 billion yearly milestone was on the horizon.

“The target of a US$12 billion mining industry was set for achievement through a combination of low-hanging fruits or quick win projects with a medium-term impact, as well as projects with a longer-term impact,” said President Mnangagwa.

“This indeed shows that Zimbabwe is open for business. Our strategies and policy interventions, which have led to this success have resulted in a US$12 billion mining economy,” he said.

“This is evidenced by a total of US$20, 2 billion in cumulative exports that have been realised from the mining sector since 2018.”

The Second Republic’s commitment to attracting foreign investors and implementing investor-friendly policies has resulted in the establishment of these new mining projects and the expansion of existing operations.

As a result, local communities are benefiting from job prospects, providing much-needed income and stimulating economic growth.

President Mnangagwa’s administration recognised the untapped potential of the mining sector and placed it at the forefront of the country’s economic transformation.

Efforts have been made to streamline regulations, attract foreign investors, and create an enabling business environment to unlock this potential fully.

The Second Republic’s efforts to encourage foreign investment have paid off, with significant inflows of capital into the mining sector.

“When we took land from the British, that angered them. Now they are coming to invest in Zimbabwe. We are going to get money from the British, Americans, and Germans, they will pay for our resources,” said President Mnangagwa in summarising how the country was now attracting investment with investors interested in tapping into Zimbabwe’s resources.

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By revising legislation and providing a conducive business environment, Zimbabwe has attracted international investors who recognise the country’s vast mineral resources and untapped potential. These investments have led to the modernisation and expansion of mining infrastructure, improving operational efficiency and attracting further interest from potential investors.

This surge in mining activity has not only created job opportunities but has also injected much-needed capital into the sector, stimulating economic growth and signaling confidence in Zimbabwe’s mining industry.

As new projects come online and existing operations expand, the sector’s value in contributing to the economy is set to increase significantly. Revenue generated from the mining sector can be channeled into critical areas such as infrastructure development, healthcare, education, and poverty reduction initiatives, thus improving the quality of life for Zimbabwean citizens.

To show its commitment towards ensuring the growth of the sector through the various policies implemented by the government Zimbabwe has set an ambitious goal of transforming its mining sector into a thriving US$12 billion yearly export industry by the end of 2023.

This target reflects the government’s determination to harness the country’s mineral wealth for sustainable economic development.

Achieving this goal will not only bolster Zimbabwe’s economy but also position it as a major player in the global mining industry.

While pursuing growth, the Second Republic has made environmental conservation and sustainable mining practices integral to the sector’s development.

The Second Republic emphasizes responsible mining practices as a cornerstone of the sector’s growth. Striking a balance between economic development and environmental sustainability is critical.

The government has implemented regulations to ensure environmental conservation, social responsibility, and community engagement by mining companies.

This approach ensures that the benefits of the mining sector are shared equitably among all stakeholders while safeguarding the environment for future generations.
Recognising the importance of preserving the country’s natural resources, the government has implemented stringent regulations and guidelines for mining companies, ensuring they adhere to responsible practices.
By doing so, Zimbabwe aims to protect its ecosystems, secure the livelihoods of local communities, and maintain a positive reputation in the global arena.
The Second Republic has demonstrated a proactive approach in confronting these hurdles, working towards establishing a favorable investment climate, and promoting capacity-building programs for local communities.
The positive growth of Zimbabwe’s mining sector under the Second Republic is a testament to the government’s commitment to economic progress and sustainable development.
With the creation of employment opportunities, increased investments, and a targeted plan to become a US$12 billion export industry by 2023, Zimbabwe’s mining sector is poised to contribute significantly to the country’s economic prosperity.
President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic has thus ushered in a new era for Zimbabwe’s mining sector, harnessing its vast potential and creating a conducive environment for growth.
With the opening of new projects, increased investments, and the sector’s substantial contribution to the national economy, the mining sector is poised to play a pivotal role in Zimbabwe’s sustainable development.
President Mnangagwa effectively sums up the developments in the mining sector once again in his July 24, 2022 article when he writes; “Zimbabwe is on the rise, thanks to our adeptness at restoring a dynamic equilibrium amidst all the global turbulences.”

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