Zimbabwe is one of the richest countries on earth with respect to untapped mineral wealth and natural resources per person. Today the mining industry countributes only 15% to the nations GDP, however givien the mineral endowment, there is room for growth. What steps is the Ministry taking to perpeturate long-term sustainable growth in one of Zimbabwe’s mainstay industries?
PM: The Ministry of Mines and Mining development superintend the development of the mining sector in Zimbabwe. The Ministry is the administrator of the mining laws and regulations and we can provide any potential investor with the information they need to invest in the mining industry.
PM: The national strategy and vision, as outlined in the Mid Term Policy (MTP) states that the responsibility to resusitate and grow the economy has been given to the Ministry of Mines and the mining sector to champion. Therefore, this calls on the Ministry and the private sector to come up with the policies and strategies for national growth, which means a conducive environment put in place through a clear and transparent legislative framework.
We are also working to update our Mines and Minerals Act to ensure it fosters this conducive environment, which will be completed mid 2013. The update will go a long way to addressing all the necessary issues, to attract investment and strive to achieve the aforementioned goals.
Predictions indicate Zimbabwe’s diamond production can double the current global output by 2015 and contribute 25% of the world’s supply. If done correctly, this is an example of the tremendous potential for job creation and economic upliftment in just one of the countries 40 types of metals and minerals. How dependent are these developments on Zimbabwe’s ability to attract new foreign investment?
PM: Zimbabwe needs to create the relevant framework to attract new investmet and we are currently in process of doing this. The objectives of this exercise are to simplify the Act, and to provide for enhanced environmental management of mining operations and to provide for life of mine management for large-scale operations. We have many untapped mineral resources, and we need to ensure we know what we have. We must attract more exploration, which is our immediate focus so as to gather data to stimulate investment into the sector. In addition, the amendments are aimed at providing for broad based economic empowerment of indigenous Zimbabweans, taking into consideration not only equity, but also allowing for conversion of social investment by mining companies into equity equivalent.
Despite Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth and well developed infrastructure, regulatory uncertainty, perceptions about lack of transparency and indigenous pressures pose significant limitations. What is the Ministry’s strategy to overcome these issues?
PM: Zimbabwe already has a solid and robust legislative framework to protect the investor, the framework provides insurance on their investments and a clear outline of what is expected from investors. Therefore, our main activity is to interact with key stakeholders in the mining sector worldwide to educate them about participating in the development of our sector. We realize there are many misperceptions about investing in Zimbabwe’s mineral industry, however unlike many other jurisdications in Africa, Zimbabwe is not high risk and we are open to engaging with anyone interested in the sector and investing in the country.
Zimbabwe is landlocked and bordered by some major mining jusrisdictions including South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, and Botswana to name a few. What do you believe seperates Zimbabwe from its neighbours as a mining destination?
PM: Zimbabwe has an educated population, rich mineral resources which have yet to be untapped across the provinces and a legislative framework more developped than many of our neighbouring countries. We invite interested investors to come and see the opportunities in Zimbabwe.