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Inclusive approach needed to achieve $12bn mining economy

AN inclusive model that involves women and youths in the different mining communities must be embraced to speed up the achievement of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023, an official has said.

President Mnangagwa launched the ambitious strategic roadmap in 2019 to unlock the US$12 billion mining earnings as one of the key priorities to transforming the country’s economy and widening job opportunities.

The mining sector is critical in generating foreign currency, contributing about 70 percent of the country’s forex earnings, according to official data. The projected increase to US$12 billion in mining earnings represents a 344 percent jump from US$2,7 billion achieved in 2017.

Mining houses undertaking various projects towards boosting output and ensuring the attainment of the target have been identified while negotiations with others are in progress.

Under this drive, the Government expects that by 2030, the mining industry will be generating upwards of US$20 billion.

Addressing villagers in Chachacha in Shurugwi recently, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development chairperson, Edmond Mkaratigwa, urged potential investors to come on board and inject capital to aspiring miners to venture into the sector.

“We are working to ensure that the country achieves a US$12 billion mining industry. This can be done through the inclusion of everyone who envies to be in the mining sector and mostly people who reside in mining areas,” he said.

“For example, most people in Shurugwi are into mining and we understand that most have challenges in terms of acquiring equipment.

“The idea now is that you unite as groups so that we can find donors for you and you can be able to have a source of consistent income taking note of how the mining sector is thriving.”

Guided by the Government’s National Development Strategy (NDS 1-2021-2025), priority is given to developing and strengthening the already existing value chains and beneficiation of the country’s minerals.

As such, Mkaratigwa said villagers from around Shurugwi were expected to meet with platinum producer, Unki Mines, in the coming week to engage on how they can benefit from their operations.

“Recently, we held consultations with the traditional leadership on issues to do with how the areas can benefit from Unki Mines,” he said.

“I am pleased that Unki Mines have taken note of the raised points so that no one is left out. We will hold another meeting with the villagers so that some of the things not aired by the traditional leaders can be made to light. “This is because everyone should be included in order to ensure the growth of the mining sector.”

Mkaratigwa said unlocking the mining sector value chain was in line with President Mnangagwa’s drive to empower every sector.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) secretary for women affairs, Jessica Mazivazvose, said many women were coming on board to apply for mining claims.

“ZMF has asked all miners with outstanding applications to submit their information so that they fast track the process,” she said.

Mazivazvose said they were making arrangements to acquire tributes from big mines like Falcon Gold mine and Sabi Mine so that women can fully participate in mining activities.

“Challenges faced by women miners are lack of resources, lack of their own mines, being victimised by boys and in the mines offices women are not recognised fully as their voice is not heard,” she said.

“There must be a women’s desk at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development so that challenges affecting women can be solved specifically.

“Banks, NGOs and Government can alleviate the problems of equipment. The RBZ is offering loans specifically for women and not even considering collateral so it’s another opportunity for women in mining.”

Ms Eunice Chingondo from Shurugwi concurred saying their inclusion was progressive given the need for collective efforts in building the economy.

“Gone are the days where as women we have been sidelined in the inclusion in the mining sector and if Government is to look into that we are very happy,” she said.

“Like every citizen, we have what it takes to change the face of mining and increase its growth.”

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