THE mining sector needs more value addition and beneficiation investments for the country to fetch higher export earnings from its rich natural resource base, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando, has said.
Despite increased output on major minerals last year and positive prospects going forward, the Minister says reliance on raw extraction without value addition will continue to rob the economy of the desired potential growth.
To that end, Chitando says Government has put in place a cocktail of policies and strategies that are aimed at ensuring that the mining sector meaningfully contributes to the attainment of Vision 2030 of ensuring that Zimbabwe develops into an upper middle income economy. Value addition and beneficiation are seen as key ingredients in this direction, as they dovetail with the goals of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which seeks to ensure the country exports locally beneficiated and value added minerals that yield more proceeds in the international markets. This is critical given that the country is heavily reliant on mining for the much-needed foreign currency, said the minister.
“It is our hope that investments in the smelters and other mineral beneficiation facilities by the companies will increase with the firming investor confidence in response to the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ agenda,” said Minister Chitando.
He also said Government was working towards finalising the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill while consultations are already ongoing with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development in preparation for re-submission of the Bill to Parliament. The Bill seeks to provide an improved and competitive mining legislative framework that offers a conducive investment environment for local and foreign investors while curtailing prejudice to the national fiscus.
“Thus, the Bill is aimed at opening up the mining sector to investment and attainment of sustainable development of the sector and the national economy in general,” said Minister Chitando.
“It is our hope that the Bill will be finalised soon given the high level commitment to this process by Parliament and the President.”
Similar efforts are being put to amend the Gold Trade Act and the Precious Stones Trade Act and due process is expected to be done by the 4th quarter of this year.
In addition to supporting and facilitating the envisaged sustainable mineral development, he said, Government was in the process of crafting various mineral specific policies that include the diamond, chromium, gold and coal development policies.
Minister Chitando, who was represented by his deputy, Polite Kambamura, at the Mine Entra exhibition in Bulawayo last week, said the scrapping of the indigenisation policy has liberalised all mining investments including platinum and diamonds, which were previously affected by the legislation.
“Investors in the mining sector no longer have any restrictions in shareholding and are free to form partnerships with local partners on a mutually beneficial basis,” he said.