Victoria Falls (New Ziana) – With production in the mining sector now on a firm growth trajectory, focus should now shift to increasing value addition for the country to reap maximum rewards from its vast mineral resources, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
He said this on the back of a strong first quarter mining sector performance, in which output in key minerals such as gold rose by 86 percent, diamonds 51 percent, coal 21 percent and platinum 13 percent.
The robust performance, analysts contend, has put Zimbabwe firmly on course to attaining the US$12 billion mining industry economy by 2023.
Officially opening the annual Chamber of Mines conference, President Mnangagwa encouraged mining houses to scale up implementation of robust and forward-looking strategies for accelerated and sustained growth.
“Growth in the mining sector will also be anchored on increased investments in new technologies and operations which are in line with the government’s thrust on value addition and beneficiation. Gone are the days of exporting products in their raw form. Focus should now be on unlocking value from our rich mineral resource base, for sustainable socio-economic development,” he said.
“However, beneficiation in mining cannot be achieved by a business-as-usual mindset. It requires the development of backward and forward industrial linkages within the mining sector, and across other sectors of the economy.”
“In this regard, I want to express gratitude to mining houses that have invested in the local beneficiation and value addition of minerals such as chrome, granite, gold, diamonds and coal, among others. My government is also in constant engagement with platinum group of metals producers to ensure the setting up of a precious metal refinery in the shortest possible time.”
While taking advantage of the re-bounding commodity prices and high demand for minerals such as lithium globally to boost production, local miners should also remain alive to the need to protect the environment in carrying out their operations, said President Mnangagwa.
He emphasised the importance of sustainable extraction of minerals.
“It is my expectation that mining houses now begin to green their operations through responsible mining towards low carbon emissions and a sustainable mining sector. Further, the emerging Environmental, Social and Governance thrust in the mining sector, now demands that mining houses create real benefits for the communities in which they are operating,” he said.
President Mnangagwa encouraged mining companies to pay favourable remuneration to employees.
“As you grow and develop, employees within the mining sector must not be left behind,” he said.
He said on its part, the government would continue creating an enabling environment in order to foster further mining sector growth.
This, he said, would be done through, among other things, investing in infrastructure, availing fiscal incentives, and expanding the country’s power generation capacity.
He invited miners to craft proposals that could further improve the sector, which is the country’s single largest foreign currency earner.
“It is encouraging that investors continue to embrace our Zimbabwe Is Open for Business mantra, as witnessed by the ongoing investments throughout the mining sector’s value chain. These investments will undoubtedly complement efforts towards the attainment of the US$12 billion mining industry by 2023,” he said.
“We also commend the close relationship amongst government, Parliamentarians, the private sector, traditional leaders and communities in general, in the continuous development of mining policies in our country. The role being played by development partners in supporting various mining sector initiatives towards global best practice and improving the Ease of Doing Business Environment in our country’s mining sector, is equally applauded.”