MMCZ now an exploration company

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Mines minister Walter Chidakwa

THE Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) will be transformed into an exploration company that will quantify the country’s mineral reserves and deposits, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa has said.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

The new company, Minerals Exploration Promotion Corporation (MEPC), will be funded from part of the revenue generated from minerals shipment last year.

Chidakwa said the government had approved the transformation of the MMCZ into an exploration company with the aim to facilitate growth in the sector.

“When the MMCZ was established, the key thing was to market our minerals and today we don’t market our minerals, we get constant agreement. So there is no role for us to actually look for markets. They contest for a 35% of the $2 billion revenue generated by the mining sector in 2014,” Chidakwa said.

“This money is supposed to go into marketing and we said no, let the greater part of this money go into exploration then we can develop our mining sector.”

Chidakwa said the new company would be tasked with facilitating the growth of mineral export receipts while embarking on a nationwide exploration of mineral reserves and deposits.

MMCZ was established through an Act of Parliament and began operations in March 1983. It is 100% owned by the government and falls under the ambit of the Mines and Mining Development ministry. It is an exclusive agent for marketing and selling of all minerals produced in Zimbabwe except silver and gold.

In his 2015 National Budget presentation, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government had proposed to set aside $3 million towards exploration activities during 2015.

“I am, therefore, pleased to report that the amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act are currently being finalised with their promulgation expected in 2015. This will pave way for the operationalisation of the exploration company, among other measures,” Chinamasa said.

He said the government had already acknowledged the need for setting up of an exploration company in order to overcome the challenges that the country was not fully knowledgeable about the extent of the value of its mineral resource base, adding that this inevitably resulted in poorly negotiated contracts, potentially prejudicing the benefits accruing to the State and its citizens.

4 COMMENTS

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  2. The problem with this idea is:

    1. GoZ should be encouraging foreign investors to come into Zim to explore and spend their money.
    2. Exploration takes years and years and will take many 100’s of $M which GoZ does not have.
    3. GoZ will block off ground they are exploring from Foreign investors – then force them into a 51% JV.
    4. GoZ should rather spend money improving the geological knowledge of the country, the investor climate financially, improve the Mining Code, improve the cadastre system.
    5. GoZ should make it law that exploration companies have to submit Q reports stating results and reserves. This was done in the past. This negates the need for MMCZ exploration company. But I feel the real reason for this company is point 3.

    We can not go this alone – we need foreign investment. This idea/initiative is more about GoZ control, will frustrate investment and ultimately fail.

  3. James well said. This move i believe can work if all is done in good faith. Exploration is a very expensive exercise in terms of money and risk, and it should be left to venture capitalists. For now lets market all the minerals we have. People talk of diamonds, platinum and gold but these arent the best value minerals, The best minerals that need work and marketing are

    1. Coal
    2. Iron Ore
    3. Nickel
    4. Manganese
    5. Tungsten

    If you look at the biggest mining company (BHP Billiton) in the world get its revenue form these mineral. Forget Goal and Diamonds, they are just too bloody. Lets invest in wealth.

  4. Well said by James and Pastor Farie. This business of forming many exploration companies thinking that fortunes will change for the better over very meagre budget allocations of money wont help. Money is the problem that the Minister will have and exploration is not for the faint hearted. The 3m allocation budget proposed by the Minister of Finance is too little, that is what individual listed companies would raise on their own for a single Exploration project, not the whole exploration for the country. I would advise that, it is better to give this amount to the Geological Survey, to do selective mapping in mineral rich areas at a scale of 1.50 000, than the general 1.100 000 maps available. These maps of 1.50 000 will increase the geological knowledge and structures can be plotted at this scale, which will be fodder later for the Exploration Private companies with more money to go into more expensive stages of exploration and then possibly feasibility study level. The government can recoup its money by selling much detailed maps they would have produced at a higher rate per sheet. Now we read of MEPC, we have known of an MPC a year ago, so does that mean the number of companies are increasing to do exploration on behalf of the country? The truth is, with little money, one is bound to fail, give this opportunity and allow mineral exploration hustlers to come in and let them do what they know best, your duty as government is to restrict yourself just to the corner of improving the investment climate and reducing the geological risk by availing new information, not what we see that was left by the Rhodies. Thank you

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