Zimbabwe has potential to be an investment hub for platinum mining ahead of South Africa, which can enhance export earnings and drive economic growth, according to analysts.
Fermain Limited mining and finance officer, Roy Pitchford, said the country’s platinum deposits are shallow and easy to extract as compared to South Africa.
Mr Pitchford is a mining expert who sits in numerous boards of local and foreign mining giants.
In South Africa, deposits start at about 3 000 metres deep against 800 metres in Zimbabwe, which gives the country a competitive advantage over neighbours on the other side of Limpopo.
But this can only be achieved with a clear regulatory framework that attracts foreign direct investment, making Zimbabwe a preferred destination for capital injection.
“In Zimbabwe, platinum deposits are shallow and therefore cheaper to extract unlike in South Africa, no one can compete with us on that.
“What we need is to come up with a foreign investment package, which is the best in the world and cannot be resisted by anyone.
“All platinum investments will start flowing into Zimbabwe as opposed to South Africa, where deposits are deep which is more expensive,” he said in his submissions during a virtual indaba on funding the mining sector post COVID 19.
The indaba was hosted by Financial Markets Indaba (FMI) together with Bakertilly Capital Zimbabwe. It drew panellists in mining sector and capital markets based in Zimbabwe and abroad.
Ernst & Young LLP director, minerals and metals Hopewell Mauwa, who moderated the event, highlighted the need to adapt to the “new normal” and stirred debate on investment opportunities available in the mining sector, funding options and risks of investing in Zimbabwean mining projects as seen by locals, foreign operators and financiers.
Participants also talked about de-risking strategies for operators and financiers in the sector.
Speaking on the same platform, i-MINE UK (an online database of mining projects and funders) managing director Dr Abubakar Lawal, said the country needed to market its asset to the world, explaining the opportunities available as well as providing clarity on the regulatory framework. A one-stop database of information about the country and its mining investment opportunities across value chains adds to the allure of the country, he said.
“If I don’t know anything about Zimbabwe, then I cannot invest. For Zimbabwe to be known to the world as a mining investment destination, you need to market your information,” he said.
His online database brings together established mining companies, junior miners, long standing mining financiers and industry associations, which Zimbabwe can take a leaf from to showcase its opportunities.
The mining sector is the largest source of foreign currency.
Despite abundant mineral resources the foreign markets remain sceptical of investing or financing in Zimbabwe based projects, while the impact of Covid-19 is also posing a new threat to the sector and the whole economy.
Platinum miners in Zimbabwe include Zimplats, Unki and Mimosa and several projects are in various stages of implementation.
According to INN Resources, Top Platinum Producing countries in the world are: South Africa, Russia, Zimbabwe, Canada and United States.