Investing in sustainable mining: Over 200 miners benefit from Ramangwana Mining
By Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi
At least 200 miners have so far benefited from mining programs spearheaded by the Norton based Ramangwana Mining (RM) mineral resource management training and consultancy institution. Established in 2018, VaRozvi Mineral Resource Management Private Limited trading as Ramangwana Mining was birthed out of the desire to see Zimbabweans take charge of their own mineral resources and fully realise their value. In one of the videos published by Ramangwana Mining, it is on record that trained candidates with blasting licenses have the capacity take on leadership and supervisory roles in mining. The Mining Vision Magazine Editor Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi caught up with Ramangwana Mining Administration Executive Isaac Simbarashe Jr Mugwagwa to find out how miners can invest in sustainable mining practices, unlock opportunities and prioritise mining safety in Zimbabwe. The discussion also touched on how financial houses can come in to play in the extractive sector. Below is the exclusive interview.
Q. What inspired you to start Ramangwana Mining and what is the inspiration behind its name?
A. The passion and desire to see Zimbabweans take charge of their own resources and realize full mineral value from their resources inspired the genesis of RM. RM is also being modeled into a system that creates a better image to the country’s mining industry through establishment of meaningful programs that streamline mining activities into sustainable economic progression. The name Ramangwana meaning “for the morrow” gives an assurance to the Zimbabwean citizen that whatever program we partake in “today”, is meant to secure a substantive mining future.
Q. I see you specialize in blasting licences , what challenges do you think are associated with not having a blasting license as a mining professional?
A. We do not only specialize in Blasting License Training although this is a core initiative of Ramangwana. We are leveraging across the whole mining value chain as we are involved in Exploration, Shaft Sinking, Contract Mining, Quarry Drilling And Blasting, Mine Management and many more. However, a mining professional is not a complete product ready for the mining job market if they do not hold a Blasting License. You cannot assume any leadership or supervisory role underground mainly due to limitations in addressing safety and production requirements.
It is important to note that there is a misalignment between the mining industry requirements and what our education institutions are producing. Many mining qualifications as per the Zimbabwean unique mining economy requirements, are already obsolete. The industry is struggling in employing competent persons hence production is very low and safety is at risk. There is a high risk of misinterpretation and misappropriation of investment and profits emanating from this competency vacuum which is caused by a shortage of Blasting License holders in an operation. As Ramangwana, we even suggest that those in the administration offices of a mine whether at head office or on site, still go under Blasting License training. This helps in creating/enhancing chemistry and cohesion between management and operations. The organization becomes one solid unit.
Q. Since the establishment of Ramangwana Mining , what impact has it brought to the Mining industry?
A. As an aspiring mining industry leader, Ramangwana has made progress in outlining issues that need to be addressed in training and how it impacts the mining economy positively. Engagements with authorities such as the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Chamber of Mines and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation are constantly being made through establishment of effective correspondence channels. Industry leaders such as Zimplats, Unki Platinum Mine, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and RioZim have seen some of their employees seek personal capacity development through training by Ramangwana. We hope to establish much more effective and meaningful relationship with these organizations. We have also created relationships with mines such as Sabi Vlei Gold, Farvic Gold, Olympus, Ayrshire, Golden Valley, How Mine, Freda Rebecca among others and our other shaft sinking clients and partners where our trainee miners get practical exposure.
We have also been on a quest to make emphasis on the potential that the mining industry has to the Financial Services Industry (FSI). Our models maybe disruptive but without meaningful participation from the FSI’s, our efforts as an industry will be short lived. So basically, we are assisting banks and financial service providers to develop capacity in evaluating mining projects. They must be able to translate geological information to financial terms. At some point we are going to push that banking officials get Blasting License training too! There is real money to be made which they must be at the centre of.
We are much grateful to the Zimnat CoCare Card project which we have partnered to create a high powered product called the Healthy Mining. It has a huge default towards the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Industry where we are focusing on Training, Access to Medication, Mineral Resource Identification and Possible Funding for mines that meet the established requirements. The program is currently being streamlined and upgraded and shall be launched soon.
Our affordable fees has made mining exposure possible for the ordinary Zimbabwean. Of late only the elite could afford to learn about mining but through our modeling, even a school leaver can be groomed to become a force to reckon with in the mining industry.
Ramangwana has also been able to consolidate a high powered trustees board being chaired by a retired Rothschild Investment Banker Kojo Parris. Other members include a mining investor Kenneth Scott, businessman and miner John Mukaro, Stanbic Bank Head of Business Improvement Weston Makwara, women empowerment icon Moira Munyati and Aaron Mudhuwiwa who is a former RioTinto International HR Director. United Kingdom based Honorary Trustees Dario Flood and Anna Defazio are also part of the board. Special mention also goes to Engineer Shadreck Hungwe who is at the core of creating mining models. Ramangwana will further energize this board to make it a more powerful vehicle that will bring real value to this economy.
Q. How many miners have you trained to date and where do you see Ramangwana in the next 5 years?
A. Over a 200 miners have benefited from our schemes. In the next five years, I see Ramangwana as a Pan Africanist Leading Organization.
Q.What is your word of advice to miners out there?
A. Get trained first before mining. However, if you feel you have some knowledge to start, make sure you make exploration a compulsory component of your mining activities. No compromise on safety. Let us keep working, we will get there.