2022 Business Opportunities to Look Out for in the Mining Industry

2022 Business Opportunities to Look Out for in the Mining Industry

The Mining Industry is one of the most supported sector in Zimbabwe. The government is so much optimistic about it as they aim to make it a USD$12 Billion Dollar Sector by 2023. The sector has also seen massive growth in 2021 and with this comes a number of opportunities entrepreneurs can pursue.

ORE EXPLOITATION

Zimbabwe has over 60 minerals with confirmed deposits. It is also blessed abundantly with 2021 top performing minerals in the world, which are lithium (a return of 496.7%), Magnesium (207.6%), Cobalt (115.2%) and tin (93.6%). Other positive returning minerals were Aluminium, Nickel, Zinc, Copper, Steel and Magnesium. Here in Zimbabwe lithium is found in

PROJECT FINANCING

Zimbabwe has both the mineral and human resource; however, sometimes finances can be the limiting factor particularly for small to medium scale miners. It also seems like less initiatives are there to finance green projects, whilst to some extent have much returns as compared to established ventures.

Financiers can come in to provide start-up capital or machinery purchase aid and be rewarded with equity or be paid back with interest. However, due diligence really has to be practised when scouting for projects to finance like feasibility and possible return on investment.

ALTERNATIVE POWER SUPPLY

For the past 2 years, the Mining Industry has been significantly affected by power cuts. Energy is one of the major inputs or requirements in mining, if power is inadequate, mines suffer a lot through down time that will then affect the overall output whilst other costs may not necessarily be reduced because of that down time for example allowances. Due to this problem, some mining companies in Zimbabwe now also use solar for example Zimplats and blanket mine.

Entrepreneurs can bring solutions to this through providing the industry with alternative power supply for example generators or off grid solar for ASM. For large scale miners solar fiels may do justice or even mini hydro power stations if the environment permits.

MINERAL BENEFICIATION

Whilst Zimbabwe has a lot of minerals that can economically be exploited, we still lag behind on mineral beneficiation or value addition. A number of minerals are being exported raw or semi processed whilst there are much returns in adding value to such minerals. The country is also crafting and implementing policies to promote value addition of minerals such as chrome and investors need to strategically position themselves in this sector before it is overcrowded. Below are some minerals for consideration:

Black Granite

Black Granite is said to be covering 75% of Zimbabwe and the country’s black granite is the most sought after on the international market due to its rare quality, consistence and decorative tenor. Whilst granite mining in Zimbabwe started more than 50 years ago, around 20 companies mine granite with an annual production estimated to be 200,000 MT of which only 5% is being processed in Zimbabwe.

Granite is used much in the construction industry, on buildings, monuments, bridges, paving and many other exterior projects. For interior purposes, it is used as kitchen counter tops, polished granite slabs, tile floor, stair treads and all kinds of funerary art.

Chrome

Zimbabwe is ranked 2nd after South Africa in Chrome Deposits Globally, it accounts approximately 12% of the total global reserves.  It has an estimated reserve of 10 Billion Tonnes in the great dyke, ore also mainly occurs in the greenstone belts.

Chromium is alloyed (that is, mixed) with steel to make it corrosion-resistant or harder. An example is its use in the production of stainless steel, a bright, shiny steel that is strong and resistant to rusting. Stainless steel production consumes most of the chromium produced annually. Chromium is also used to make heat-resisting steel. So-called “super alloys” use chromium and have strategic military applications.

Platinum Group Mineral

Platinum Group Mineral (PGMs) mainly consist of rhodium, platinum and palladium. There are also associated with valuable base minerals such as nickel, copper and cobalt. A significant proportion of gold can also be found in it. In the most scenario, all these minerals associated with PGMs are exported as platinum concentrate, whilst not considering the availability and value of other minerals.

Rhodium, can be used to make auto catalysts but increasingly can be found in the machinery that is used to manufacture flat panel displays (just like indium, rhodium is used in the flat screen TV sector). Platinum is used in the automobile sector, manufacturing of computer disks and LCD glass panels. Platinum and Palladium have similar physical and chemical characteristics and the two metals are partially interchangeable in some of their end uses, notably in automotive emission-control catalysts.

All the main sector serviced by the PGMs are on a rise LCD manufacturing automobiles.

Nickel

In Zimbabwe, more than 30 deposits of nickel are known, whilst production is currently at Trojan in Bindura. It is also exported as processed or semi processed material whilst it can be combined with other metals that we already have, such as iron, copper, chromium, and zinc, to form alloys. These alloys are used to make coins, jewellery, and items such as valves and heat exchangers. Most nickel is used to make stainless steel.

In 2019, Zimbabwe imported 2 499kg of stainless steel products, worth at least US$7 179, whilst it exported none of it. A stainless steel company can serve both the domestic and foreign market with stainless steel products.

Lithium

Zimbabwe is also blessed abundantly with lithium deposits, being the 5th producer in the world in 2019. Lithium deposits are found in Goromonzi, Mudzi, Buhera, Bikita, Chegutu, Hwange, Harare, Insiza, Rushinga, Mutoko, Mutare and Hwange. Lithium is used in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, and the demand of the cells has been on a rise globally and the question is, can’t we manufacture our own locally?

SUPPLY CHAIN

Zimbabwe Mining Industry’s Supply Chain is mainly backed up by international imports. Whilst it is one of the largest exporting sector in Zimbabwe, it is also undeniably one of the largest importer. The mining industry value chain requires a lot such as machinery and its spares, chemicals and consumables. Much of the chemicals used in mineral processing are imported for example cyanide, hydrogen peroxide only to mention a few.

The same also goes for some consumables or machineries mines need to use on a daily basis. Something can be really done to localise Zimbabwe’s Mining Industry supply chain and manufacture machineries and chemicals for the local market and perhaps for export.

Much opportunities also lies in the transportation of ore and inputs even in the procurement process.

CONSULTANCY

Consultancy is of great importance in the mining industry and this also present another opportunity that experts can pursue. Both A.S.M and large Scale Miners hire external consultancy at some point for process optimization or investigation. These services might be related but not limited to exploration, metallurgy, mining, security and even insurance.

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