CAPE TOWN — Zimbabwe’s Mines minister Winston Chitando has admitted that the country has no record of its untapped mineral resources because there has not been any exploration work for the past decades.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Chitando made the disclosure yesterday at the ongoing African Mining Indaba in South Africa.
“There has been no exploration work in Zimbabwe. The only exploration was done long back and nothing has been done in recent times especially with the use of modern technology,” he said.
“So exploration is a very big opportunity which arises in the mining industry and which I am interested in.“
Chitando invited investors to apply for exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs) which gives them rights to apply for mining licences for minerals of their choice after the exploration work.
The minister said currently there were only three EPOs issued in Zimbabwe compared to 300 five years ago.
Zimbabwe has been boasting of its vast mineral wealth without knowing exactly what is underground. Chitando said his ministry had done work to ensure that it would be easy to acquire mining licences.
In line with the policy to open Zimbabwe for business, Chitando said government had recently sealed deals with huge mining companies in mining of lithium.
“In the next few weeks something will be happening, but the name cannot be announced because the company is listed on the stock exchange,” he said.
There has been growing interest from investors who want to set up shop in Zimbabwe following the change of government in the country last November through military intervention.
Investors, African Chrome Fields (ACF), who hosted a breakfast meeting in conjunction with government, said Zimbabwe was now ripe to be the next Dubai.
ACF senior executive Ashruff Kaka said conditions in Zimbabwe had greatly improved from the time they ploughed in over $200 million into a chrome mining venture in Midlands province.
“It was a great risk, which was next to stupid at the time we invested, but the project has grown and if we could go in at that time, with the conditions having changed, it’s now time to invest,” he said.