Zimbabwe’s mining sector has been at the centre of the slow economic recovery over the last five years with average annual growth of about 35%, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa has said.
Chidhakwa told the sixth Zimbabwe Mining and Infrastructure Indaba underway in Harare that the sector was projected to grow by an average of 9,7% this year.
He said mining’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has seen a phenomenal rise to 16% in 2013 from about 4% in the 1990s.
“I’m happy to say that process of reopening mines has started and so far we’ve had two mines coming back on stream, but we still have a long way to go,” he said.
“There are many mines which yesterday sustained the lives of many Zimbabweans, which today stand on ghost towns and we need to do much more to ensure that these mines are brought to life.”
Chidhakwa said the mining sector had been identified as the centrepiece of the country’s economic recovery programme — ZimAsset – whose success hinged on beneficiation and value addition.
“With a 45% contribution on exports and $3 billion worth of contribution to GDP, it is (mining) an import sector to Zimbabwe,” he said.
Chidhakwa said this year’s indaba came at a time when his ministry had embarked on formulating policies and programmes to ensure that the mining industry was revolutionised.
“When I talk about the revolutionisation, I’m taking about mining not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end; and that end is about communities.
“We need to ensure that there is a symbiotic relationship between infrastructure development and the mining sector,” he said.
Infrastructure development, Chidhakwa said, was crucial in the regeneration of the economy.
“Infrastructure development as part of the mining sector is, in fact, part of the Africa mining vision,” he said.
‘We have seen lots of developments over the years. If we move to a higher level of value addition, the infrastructure that will be required will be much more advanced.”
Chidhakwa said a joint extraordinary meeting of African Mines and Mining Development ministers had been scheduled for Victoria Falls and Livingstone, Zambia, to discuss the continent’s vision on mining.
“It is our intention to look at the institutions that we have set up to drive the Africa mining vision — and we hope that the institutions in place today can be enhanced to ensure our countries are able to drive that vision of making mining industries become a means to an end,” he added.