STAKEHOLDERS in the mining industry have launched a minerals beneficiation programme aimed at engaging government to ensure the country value-adds its resources instead of exporting them in raw form.
The programme was jointly launched in Harare on Wednesday by the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre (ZDTC), Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the Jewellery Council of Zimbabwe (JCZ).
ZDTC founder Lovemore Kurotwi said value addition would ensure job creation locally and generate more revenue for the finished products.
“Our hope is that not even a single percentage of raw minerals should be exported to support other foreign industries. Exporting 1% will be exporting labour while the country’s unemployment rate hovers above 80%,” Kurotwi said.
“I would like to believe that Zimbabweans are ready to beneficiate their minerals. As a country, we don’t make money by mining, but by adding value to the minerals. We have countries that do not produce diamonds, but have made billions from the industry.
“Zimbabwe is a major producer of diamond. How many billions can we generate as a country if we organise ourselves and add value to the precious stones?” queried Kurotwi.
BAZ chairman Richard Mvududu urged government to craft policies that favour beneficiation.
Mvududu said the 10% diamonds given to local polishers were inadequate to grow the local industry.
Speaking at the same event, JCZ chairman Fidelis Dana described value addition as a panacea to the country’s current cash crunch.
“It is no point for people to take cash and put it outside our borders when we need it here,” said Dana.
Valentine Vera, a director in the Ministry of Mines said value addition was not just a talk show.
“I can assure you that you have the full support of the ministry. You are pushing for what is already in motion and as the ministry, we support such initiatives.”
Government’s economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), is premised on value addition of mineral resources and agricultural products.