Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube is today expected to announce the setting aside of funds for mineral exploratory work as part of Government’s efforts to scientifically quantify the country’s mineral resource potential.
Minister Ncube is due to present the 2020 national budget in Harare this afternoon.
The Minister gave the hint when he addressed stakeholders in the mining sector at a business breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday on the roadmap towards the realisation of Government’s US$12 billion mining sector milestone.
The Minister has not been giving much away in terms of what to expect from the budget save for the position that it will signal the end of austerity and signal the beginning of growth in line with Government’s economic blueprint – the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
Mining is one of the sectors that Government has identified as strategic towards the attainment of Vision 2030 by which Zimbabwe should achieve upper middle income earning status but the sector’s foreign direct investment lure is being curtailed by lack of exploration.
There are also fears among market watchers that the country could lose on potential revenue or parcel mining title to investors with no financial muscle to undertake particular mining projects without scientifically backed data to show the exact potential of deposits.
“ . . . we need exploration. Zimbabwe, with all the minerals the Minister (Winston Chitando) talked about, Zimbabwe is still under explored, there are minerals anywhere, everywhere around Zimbabwe,” Minister Ncube told participants at the meeting.
“Frankly, I am of the view that after DR Congo (the Democratic Republic of Congo), Zimbabwe is the best mining country in the world.
“So investing in exploration is critical . . . so in the budget, this is something we are going to really look into and add more resources towards exploration,” he said.
The move to invest in exploration could expedite Government’s resource definition plans which saw Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando launching an Aeromagnetic and Electronic Survey project in March.
Under the project, work was expected to start in Masvingo province before spreading to other parts of the country.
But as it turned out, the project never really took off due to lack of funding and for which treasury is now coming on board.
The breakfast meeting was attended by Minister Chitando, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe president Elizabeth Nerwande, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), Fidelity Printers and Refineries and several senior executives from leading mining houses in the country.