Maximizing mining contribution to the economy beyond 2023
By Calvin Manika
The recently ended mining conference hosted by Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls acknowledged the contribution of the mining sector in the country’s economic recovery and development. Zimbabwe targets a US$12 billion mining contribution by the year 2023.
Delegates at the conference shared approaches to sustain the contribution of the mining industry to attain the mining vision 2023 and beyond.
Last year, strategies towards sustaining mining sector growth post-COVID-19 dominated discussions during the 2021 Chamber of Mines Annual Mining Conference which was held again in the resort city of Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe’s mining sector accounts for over 60% of the country’s annual exports, and the annual conference invites investors, financiers, policy makers and captains of industry to discuss mining business. The mining sector currently generates around US$2 billion dollars and there are expectations that the implementation of growth stimulating policies will see annual revenue for the sector attaining US$12 billion dollars by 2023 if supported.
Matabeleland North, which houses the City of Victoria Falls, the annual spot for the mining Indaba is home to the Hwange Colliery Company – the giant coal miner and other parts of the province are endowed with vast tracks of other minerals including gold, lithium and gas. Minister of State and Devolution Affairs for Matabeleland North, Richard Moyo told the delegates that the province is a significant player in the mining sector.
“Matabeleland is geared to the contribution of the US$12 billion target. We are witnessing a booming mining sector in our province and new projects are coming up. More companies are coming into the province. They are creating employment and developing infrastructure. We are going an extra mile to develop our province taking advantage of our resources,” Moyo said.
The mining indaba was held under the theme – “Consolidating growth drivers for the mining industry”. Experts say the mining industry will be boosted by gold, platinum, diamond, chrome, iron ore, coal, lithium, and other minerals around the country. In 2020 the mining sector had a growth of 9 percent, while in 2021, the industry saw a recovery growth by 3,4 percent and is expected to continue grow in 2022.
Chamber of Mines President Collin Chibafa while addressing the delegates reiterated the importance of the conference and the desire of the government in mining development.
“The mining sector has played an important role in consulting the stakeholders. New mines are being commissioned; examples include Eureka gold mine. The US$12 billion vision is on course. As the mining sector we are working hard to support the 2030 Vision of an upper middle-income economy,” said Chibafa.
COVID 19 interrupted much of the activities and operations for the past two years and has remained an issue of concern in the mining industry. The Chamber of Mines said the recently announced measures by the government of Zimbabwe is benefiting mining companies who are exporters as in the past they were losing 20% of their revenue.
“We achieved a 3.4 % growth in the sector. Most key minerals recorded growth with gold 86%, lithium 83%, diamond 51%, coal 21%, platinum 13%, and nickel 13%. We need more foreign currency to import raw materials. We look forward to continued growth of the mining sector,” added Chibafa.
The conference was attended by Chamber of Mines of Botswana CEO Charles Siwawa who amplified the need to maximize mining contribution to the economy beyond 2023. The advice is based on Botswana’s experience in the mining industry.
“We are now doing value addition of Diamond in Botswana and encouraging local production of goods through special economic zones. The concept is to promote import substitution; it has created employment in the country and infrastructure development,” explained Siwawa.
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando affirmed to the strategies tabled at the conference, saying all developed economies started with visions.
“By 2025 we will be processing PGMs in the country, we have seen a transformation of the coal sector and by next year the country will be producing over 2 million ores of coal,” he said
“There have been some policies which affected the sector. Zimchem should get operational. All these interventions are part of the process to achieve the 2023 and 2030 visions,” said Chitando.