Zimbabwe: Mining Sector Has Potential to Turn Around Economy – (All Africa.com Editorial – February 1, 2013)


Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources and produces more than 40 types of metals and minerals. Mineral exports account for close to 40 percent of the country’s export receipts, accounting for massive employment and 12 percent of the gross domestic product.

Gold belts run along sources of nickel, asbestos, iron ore and pyrites production and contain reserves of antimony, tungsten, corundum and limestone. Zimbabwe is the world’s third largest source of platinum group metals and significant reserves of nickel are found along the Great Dyke.

Coal is one of Zimbabwe’s primary energy sources. High quality coal deposits abound in Hwange, parts of Matabeleland North, the Zambezi Valley and in the south east.

The Makonde basin in the north west of Zimbabwe, contains the country’s copper and graphite mines as well as reserves of lead, zinc and silver.

Diamonds have also entered the scene amid high expectations for the economy’s turnaround on the back of strengthening global demand for the precious gems.

Although foreign owned companies which have of late heeded the Government’s calls to localise their ownership structures were the dominant players, there are also a significant number of small scale miners.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the future of the mining industry is assured given the extensive reserves of chrysolite, asbestos, chromite, iron ore, lithium ore and coal that abounds.

The immense potential that this country holds in terms of mineral wealth is undoubtable as it spans across the provinces. The mining sector has the potential to turn around Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes.

What has come to pass is the fact that unless fully exploited, it still remains potential and there is no immediate benefit from what lies underneath without full realisation.

Gone are the days that locals could not gainfully engage in the extractive business without foreign capital through a manipulative system that resulted in the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources for processing in foreign lands. This is not how it should be.

Through a process of constructive engagement and explicit investment policies that have been spelt out through the Indigenisation Regulations, locals are free to engage foreign partners for as long as they follow the law.

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