The Sunday Mail
Hon Winston Chitando
The mining sector in 2017 recorded gross revenues of around $2,6 billion and we expect this figure to go to $12 billion by the year 2023. We think this is actually a conservative figure which will be able to review as we go.
This is underpinned by growth in most minerals that I will touch on. On PGMs (Platinum Group of Metals), the Great Dyke project implementation is almost ready.
Three years from now it will be fully operational.
Many people are aware of the recent agreement signed between the Government of Zimbabwe and Karo Resources who are already on the ground in terms of implementation.
More importantly is the fact that Karo Resources envisage their operationalisation of base and precious metal refineries by the year 2024.
When operational, the Karo resources project will be bigger than Zimplats, Unki and Mimosa combined in their present form.
So it’s a fairly significant project and when you also effect the beneficiation aspect and the power generation aspect you will see that it will have a lot of effects on downstream industries.
Aligned to part of the Karo Resources project agreement is extraction and processing on value addition of alluvial chromes around the area where the PGM mining will be taking place and it is envisaged that production from this resource will commence as early as 2019.
There is resource mobilisation taking place as far as chromite mining is concerned, but more importantly, is the fact that there are plans to do the value addition of alluvial chrome.
Over and above what Karo Resources is doing, I should mention that as things stand now, the company with the largest installed capacity for ferrochrome production is Zimasco.
Government of Zimbabwe signed an agreement with Zimasco which entails a couple of things.
Zimasco has been granted coal bed methane special grants to enable them to establish a power station and control their cost of power, the cost of power is a major element in the production of ferrochrome and by getting special grants that enables Zimasco to control their cost of power.
Over and above that, it entails establishment and erection of a new furnace in Kwekwe as part of that structure.
Secondly the installed capacity of Zimasco is around 180 000 tonnes in Kwekwe and they will be putting 120 000 tonnes in Zvishavane which means Zvishavane will have about two thirds of the current installed capacity of the Zimasco and Kwekwe.
There are other chrome players, Jinan in Gweru who are also putting up additional furnace capacity.
We also have Afrochine who are also putting up additional furnace capacity.
We also have African Chrome fields who unveiled, two weeks ago, the first and only plant which produces ultra-low carbon ferrochrome in Africa.
Over and above that, there is Motivational Mining Company which was launched about five-six weeks ago where an initial $10 million going up to $50 million facility will be put in place for artisanal chrome miners.
Coal has four main players, but there are a number of players coming on stream.
We have Liberation Mining who have established a fairly significant infrastructure in the Gwayi area, then we have Zambezi Gas, which is on a drive to increase capacity producing both thermal and industrial coal.
Then we have Hwange Colliery Company itself, which apart from increasing its production of thermal and Industrial coal, is also commencing underground cocking coal which should be starting around September-October.
Then there is a player which is coming in Binga where there would be production of coal, they have already done quantifying the resources and what is left is implementation of that project.
We have coal-bed methane projects, about four, coming on stream for production of power and liquid fuel.
The asbestos story involves firstly retreatment of 47 dumps owned by Shabanie and more importantly the fact that the retreatment of these dumps will now entail extraction of minerals which previously were not extracted like manganese, nickel and copper.
This will enhance the profitability of the mining operations.
Also underpinning that growth turnover is gold which has been widely reported.
The idea is to hit 100 tonnes per annum production from 26 tonnes recorded last year by 2023.
This is underpinned by growth from both small scale mining, medium and large scale mining production.
There will be four Lithium projects which will be coming within the next five years.
But more importantly is the fact that there are now firm plans for the beneficiation of that Lithium from Lithium concentrate to Lithium Carbonate and that is also on stream with pilot plant operating in Kwekwe area.
On diamonds, as we speak, the ZCDC is commissioning a plant which will significantly increase the installed capacity of production of diamonds.
Last year it produced 1,8 million carats and this year it will produce over three million carats and the plan is that by 2023 ZCDC will produce over 11 million carats. This will be about six-fold increase from what they did last year.
ZCDC has also invested in exploration and we are yet to factor in results of that exploration.
Then there are also other players coming on stream for steel.
Two weeks ago, there was an agreement for the establishment of a small coal special grant in Chiredzi were they will mine coal and they will also increase their capacity of production of sponge iron and also for the structure of steel which they will produce with iron.
As Zisco comes onstream, that will also come into the equation in terms of that.
Also, we signed an agreement with Tsing-tang, the largest producer of stainless steel in the world.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando shared these views with The Sunday Mail’s Chief Reporter Kuda Bwititi in Harare last week