Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa has urged mining companies in Zimbabwe to prioritise value addition in their products as a way of creating jobs in the country.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Speaking at the 20th addition of Mine Entra at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Chidhakwa said Zimbabwe has a rich and diverse mineral resource base that should be an important contributor to suitable growth and development and if increased mining activity seen in the country was to ultimately result in more than just holes-in-the-ground, the crucial mineral linkages would need to be realised while resources are still available.
He said the mining sector had not been proactive in creating linkages with the rest of the economy because minerals had been extracted and exported largely in raw form.
“Mining has largely been extractive without beneficiation or value addition. This has led to us exporting cheaply priced raw commodities, while importing expensive refined products. We seek to correct this anomaly,” he said.
Chidhakwa said to ensure the country maximised benefits from its mineral resources in terms of value, employment creation, skills and technology transfer and sustainable economic development, mining would need to promote local beneficiation and value addition.
In addition, Chidhakwa said to maximise the development impact of mining, the ministry aimed to foster economic interdependencies between mining and the rest of the economy through maximising value addition.
“My ministry’s thrust is, therefore, local beneficiation and value addition in areas of diamonds, platinum group metals, chromite and coal bed methane,” he said.
Chidhakwa added the ministry would continue pursuing the goals of local beneficiation and value addition across the mineral resource spectrum.
“We want to see the diamond cutting and polishing industry booming. We are pushing to see the full exploitation of our local bed methane gas and attendant by-products and we want to see Fidelity Printers readmitted into the London Bullion Market,” he added.