MINES and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa yesterday said inefficiencies in the mining sector should be identified and reduced to achieve sustainable growth in the industry.
Report by Business Reporter
Speaking at the 5th Zimbabwe Mining and Infrastructure Indaba, in Harare, Chidhakwa said there was need to utilise proceeds from the mining sector for the country’s development.
The two-day indaba is being held under the theme Redefining Africa: Harnessing Our Resources Collectively.
“We must immortalise the mining sector in the development of our country. People must be able to say we developed this or that road network because we had gold, coal or any other mineral,” said Chidhakwa.
“We need to identify what needs to be done to ensure the processes of extraction are efficient so we can increase production volumes and thus tap into more of our resources than is presently being done.”
Stakeholders in the sector said reopening closed mines, opening new ones and creating value addition channels would go a long way in helping the mining sector to rebound.
Mining has become the lead sector in the economy overtaking agriculture in terms of export earnings.
Chidhakwa said the mining sector had antiquated plant and machinery hence the need to bring in new methods of mining to bear on industry so as to close the technology gap.
He added that minerals were finite resources and there was need to invest the proceeds of their exploitation so that the country had lasting benefits from the resources.
“There is a sudden realisation that mining in itself is not sustainable and its contribution to economic development comes to an end. It depletes finite national resources and unless managed properly can be harmful to the environment,” he said.
Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe president Alex Mhembere told stakeholders at the same meeting that the country had been registering positive improvements in the mining sector consistently going up year on year.
“We need to reopen some of the mines that were closed, invest in exploration and focus on beneficiation. We need to go to the 1999 production levels where the sector production was at its peak,” Mhembere said.
He said the sector was operating below 50% due to old equipment adding that production was expected to rise by 63% while revenue would increase by 87% this year.
Mhembere said if capital investment increased by $5 billion mining output and revenue would rise by over 274% and 307% over a five-year period respectively.
Former secretary in the Mines ministry Prince Mupazviriho said the adoption of a new mining title management system was in line with regional and international best practices.
“The new cadastre system will eradicate multiple allocation of title to investors, enable enforcement of the use-it-or-lose-it principle and objective monitoring, surveillance and accounting of production on all registered mining locations,” he said.