Exploration way to go for mining

The mining sector has potential to turnaround the economy, if investment is channelled towards exploration and new mining development, a senior Chamber of Mines official (CoM) said.

 Zimplats CEO, Alex Mhembere

Zimplats CEO, Alex Mhembere

Zimplats chief executive and CoM president Alex Mhembere told delegates attending the 6th Mining and Infrastructure Indaba in Harare yesterday that approximately 60% of the
country’s land surface comprises of vast mineral resources not yet adequately quantified.

“There has been a significant increase in mineral production since 2009 but growth is expected to moderate due to the lack of capital investment in mineral development and exploration.”

Government recently resuscitated the Mining Promotion Corporation (MPC), an exploration company set to enhance efforts in quantifying the country’s mineral resources and reserves for mining development.

Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa expects the company to complement exploration efforts by private players as government search for partners in exploration.

“As the State, we must know the value of concessions. This requires comprehensive knowledge of our geology and mineralisation. Quantification and valuation of the unexploited asset will be done before engaging investors.

“We are using new technologies such as aero-magnetics, big data and cloud computing. As the government we will invest massively in these processes and yet even that will not be adequate without private sector involvement,” Chidhakwa told the same indaba.

Apart from exploration, Mhembere said there was need to resuscitate existing mines on care and maintenance to pre-1998 levels.

He also called for the need to focus on value addition, beneficiation and linkages.

“To achieve this, we need a common national vision, policy consistency, competitive fiscal regime, to attract investment to the sector and improve critical infrastructure, that is electricity, roads and water supply,” he said.

Mhembere decried that most mines were currently operating slightly above 50% of their capacities due to lack of finance for recapitalisation.

“The 2009 mining economic rebound driven by old reserves is fast depleting and there is urgent need for recapitalisation as opportunities exist
in organic growth and brown fields projects.”

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