The Sunday Mail
Honourable Winston Chitando
Zimbabwe should brace itself for exciting times in the mining sector following a highly successful Mining Indaba that was held last week in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Zimbabwean Government delegation to the Indaba, which included officials from the Chamber of Mines and a number of players from the private sector, met with potential investors from across the world.
The excitement and enthusiasm that was shown throughout the Indaba is a clear indication that the world is indeed warming up to His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s message that Zimbabwe is open for business.
On the first day there was a meeting of the ministers of mines from Africa and the second day witnessed the official opening of the Indaba.
Apart from a number of meetings the delegation attended, there were three Zimbabwe Investment sessions which were all well attended.
The first session was arranged by Invest Africa and attracted many potential investors from across the globe.
The second session was arranged by African Chrome Fields and Sakunda. This session also had a significant attendance of potential investors who made inquiries about investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
The third session was arranged by JOGMEC, an entity from Japan, and this similarly had significant attendance.
The message at these sessions and throughout all interactions was very simple – Zimbabwe is open for business.
The determination by Government to create an investor friendly environment was explained to the satisfaction of the potential investors. The Zimbabwean delegation clearly outlined the indigenisation policy position emphasising that only diamonds and platinum are subject to the 51 percent to locals and 49 percent to foreign investors.
Attendees at the three sessions were also advised that Zimbabwe will hold its own Mining Indaba on February 28, with a large number of local and foreign investors expected to attend.
Already, the ministry is inundated with inquiries on this Indaba, which will set the tone for Zimbabwe’s mining sector trajectory.
The Cape Town Indaba came soon after ZMDC signed a joint venture agreement for the extraction of lithium in Matabeleland . Significant progress is being made on another lithium project and work is underway on a couple of others.
The bottom line is that Zimbabwe is poised to become a major player in the lithium industry.
What is most pleasing is the fact that there is a very clear plan for the value addition chain of the lithium which will see Zimbabwe producing lead batteries in the very near future.
This venture is set to transform the country’s mining sector as it will open numerous opportunities.
With Zimbabwe on the verge of being a significant player on the lithium stage, the Government is determined to ensure there is value addition in the lithium value chain.
In this regard, it is most pleasing that the agreement signed between ZMDC and it’s investing partner has value addition clauses in it.
Government is committed to see the construction of a lead battery manufacturing plant. This development leaves current and potential lithium producers with the task of quickly putting together a Lithium Producers Association through the Chamber of Mines.
This association, together with Government representatives and other stakeholders, will map concrete plans and a roadmap for the establishment of a lead battery manufacturing plant. This committee should be operational by March 1.
The Cape Town Indaba also gave Zimbabwe the oppurtunity to present its case to the investing world.
Quite a number of investors who attended the sessions in Cape Town indicated their desire to attend the Harare Indaba set for the 28th of February.
Honourable Winston Chitando is the Minister of Mines and Mining Development