Nelson Gahadza / Jennifer Mufamba
THE Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, says it needs about $8 million to support initiatives aimed at resuscitating closed but potentially productive mines through attracting fresh capital and interventions from key stakeholders.
Mines Minister Winston Chitando, speaking at the 2022 pre-budget seminar a few days ago, said measures were being taken through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) with a view to engage various investors to reopen a number of closed mines.
“The public urged the government to set aside resources for opening up closed mines across the country in order to raise more revenue and create employment.
“A total of $8 172 604 is required to support promotional activities, engagement with investors and relevant stakeholders towards the reopening of closed mines,” he said.
Minister Chitando said the Government had come up with various incentives, both fiscal and non-fiscal, to attract investment as the resource rich country strives to attain the target of a US$12 billion industry by the year 2023.
The US$12 billion industry ultimately feeds into the Government’s vision of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“It is important to benchmark our incentives regionally and globally and the Ministry does that periodically,” he said.
He noted that in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act [Chapter 21:05], any mining company that invests more than US$100 million may apply for a special mining lease, which allows the company to negotiate various tax concessions with the Government.
Minister Chitando also said his ministry would capacitate the Mining Promotion Corporation (MPC) by injecting approximately $5 million to help it spearhead its exploration needs for the year 2022 by the private sector and that of Zimbabwe Geological Survey.
He said in line with the Devolution agenda and decentralization strategy, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development was planning to establish offices in a number of communities including Hwange, Kadoma, Zvishavane and Lupane.
Minister Chitando said the ministry was seeking to transform the Lupane office into a fully-fledged provincial office as currently the Bulawayo Metropolitan office hosts most of the staff and operations of the province.
“Funding will therefore be required for acquisition of land, construction of appropriate offices, fully furnishing the offices and provision of requisite tools of trade. In this regard the Ministry requires $150 million to achieve this target.”
Meanwhile, Minister Chitando gave an update on one the country’s promising sub-sectors in mining, lithium production. According to Minister Chitando, there are two lithium producers in Zimbabwe.
The youngest, Australia Stock Exchange listed Prospect Resources commissioned its lithium processing pilot plant in June this year.
He said the pilot plant was already producing petalite ore with four percent lithium and 0,05 percent iron oxide.
“The low iron quantity makes the product highly marketable.
“Phase 1 of the Arcadia Lithium Project will establish a plant that produces Low Iron Spodumene used in the Chemical Industry and Ultra Low Iron Petalite used in the Industrial Market.
“Phase 2 will establish a lithium hydroxide plant and this plant will beneficiate low iron spodumene into lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and lithium sulphide.”