Zimbabwe holds a range of up to 60 different minerals and our mines are still by-and-large open cast, which gives the opportunity of low production costs compared to other countries where mining has to be done very deep. The fact that we are an English-speaking nation with a multicurrency system and no exchange controls facilitates business. Geographically, Zimbabwe is centrally and strategically positioned within the mining region of Central and Southern Africa and has a well-developed infrastructure to reach neighbouring countries through a transportation system that consists of both road and rail. Although many skilled Zimbabweans have left during the ‘Lost Decade’, companies with a competitive remuneration package have no difficulties recruiting the right skills, as Zimbabweans remain highly educated and well versed in mining.
Mining not only contributes 50% of Zimbabwe’s total exports but is also a key sector in the generation of employment. It counts for a great part of formal employment as well a large number of informal jobs through the artisanal mining sector. Zimbabwe is also hoping to leverage the mining sector to redevelop its manufacturing sector: lately the value addition sector has been in decline and the Government’s goal is to e to revive it in line with ZIMASSET. Commodities in the iron and steel industry such as iron, coal and chrome easily lend themselves to value addition. Zimbabwe’s platinum is still being refined in South Africa, Government plans to have a fully-fledged refinery for platinum and base metals within the next two or three years.Government is also focused on developing beneficiation of its diamonds.
The risk perception of Zimbabwe is overstated , the Government believes this is misplaced as there a number of mining companies operating in the country. Government has seen a resurgence of investment inquiries, particularly in big volume minerals such as gold, diamonds, platinum, iron and coal. Transaction and business is facilitated by the fact that Zimbabwe now has a multicurrency system. Zimbabwe has indigenisation legislation welcomes discussions and negotiations when it comes to committed and serious investors.
At the moment the sector is gripped by cash liquidity constraints and Government would like more investment to flow in from outside of Zimbabwe. The fact that the country has lost a lot of skills to mining sectors abroad during the period of hyperinflation has left some skills gaps in the value chain that need to be addressed.
The Government is in the process of revising the Mines and Minerals Policy and is working on a raft of incentives that will encourage investors to come into Zimbabwe. The new policy covers areas like investment and indigenization, as well as issues that have been neglected such as environmental sustainability. Another issue that will be addressed in the new policy is exploration, especially in gold and diamonds where companies have tended to extricate alluvial deposits without investing in further exploration. As they mine, they must also invest in further exploration so that we attain a better picture of the mineral endowment of the country.
The Government invites serious serious investors to come and visit Zimbabwe to see the opportunities the country presents. The Government is confident that investors will like Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has a large number of minerals, particularly gold, coal, iron, chrome, platinum ,diamonds and nickel. The country is open for investment in all these minerals. Government is looking for serious committed investors to create a Win Win partnership between investor and Government.The Zimbabwe Government has have a ‘use-it-or-lose-it policy. There is a lot of work to be done, but things are happening in Zimbabwe and the future for mining is looking bright at last.