The Sunday Mail
President Emmerson Mnangagwa witnessed the signing ceremony of an agreement on promotion of coal exports between the Government of Zimbabwe and Dubai-based Victoria Consulting Limited at Munhumutapa offices, Wednesday morning.
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Honourable Winston Chitando, signed on behalf of the Government while Victoria Consulting chief executive officer, Mr Vitor Oliveira Sousa, signed on behalf of his organisation.
The agreement entails that Victoria Consulting firm will find markets and promote Zimbabwean coal to India and Japan.
In his address President Mnangagwa said, “I have been invited to witness the signing ceremony of and I have done my part witnessing this signing.”
“The Minister of Mines and Mining Development has highlighted that with the current extraction rate, it will take a century to clear our deposits and I was wondering who in this room will be there to witness that,’’ President Mnangagwa said jokingly.
He added that there is huge potential in the coal industry that can be used in the development of the country and, therefore, the need to increase the current extraction rate.
“The country only produces two million tonnes of coal per annum against a demand of 52 million metric tonnes on the Indian market. The local mining industry should aim and work on how to meet that demand by increasing production,” he said.
Further, the President added, Zimbabwe should capitalise on the good relations between Zimbabwe and India.
“Fortunately the relations between us and India are cordial, we have an excellent rapport with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Currently, there is the India-Africa Forum where India is investing billions of dollars to develop Africa.
“We should take advantage of this India-Africa Forum and capitalise in financing our mining sector and other critical sectors,” he said.
In his address, Minister Chitando said the country is sitting on an estimated 25 billion tonnes of coal deposits and he will ensure that Zimbabwe benefits from the agreement to ensure the utilisation of the vast deposits.
Mr Sousa said his organisation is committed to seeing to the fulfilment of the agreement.