By Rungano Dzikira
Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando has assured mining stakeholders that his ministry would ensure that the sector achieves the set US $12 billion mining target by 2023.
Speaking at the DailyNews Business Breakfast Meeting today, the Mines Minister said that Government was in the process of resolving bottlenecks which previously hindered maximum output production in the sector.
“The first breakthrough towards achieving this set target is political will. And for us, this isn’t really an issue because since inception of this roadmap, the President was there present, to launch it, and that on its own demonstrates strong political will,” he said.
“The 12 billion milestone won’t be an event, it’s a process, and that process is already underway and will climb to the 12 billion over the next few months.
He then explained how Government arrived at the 12 billion output mark and how over the past weeks he has been sharing the same vision with stakeholders in the mining industry who equally concurred on its feasibility.
“Chamber of Mines, Minerals Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Mines now have a collective shared vision of what we intend to do in order to achieve the 12 billion,” he said.
He added that in an effort to achieve the set target, certain laws ought to be implemented.
“Since the second republic came into being, the first bottle neck we dealt with was addressing the indigenisation law requirement. Apart from that, there is one issue which I feel I should talk about which will soon be making headlines and noise in the industry, and that is the ‘Use it or lose it principle.’
This concept prohibits the holding of mining title if one is not using it, according to Mines and Minerals Act.
“We have extreme cases of people who have pegged mines in the 60s and 70s and haven’t put a single hole. As of precious metals, you have to do development or should be producing and yet we have ‘miners’ who have been merely renewing mining titles each year without using the land, these should be repossessed.”
Apart from this, the minister assured improvement in terms of efficiency within his ministry saying that the level of efficiency was far from ideal due to structural issues and is currently working on an enabling structure to be put in place.
On the raised resourcing issue, he said that the ministry had purchased at least two vehicles per province over the past three weeks to deal with the 5 500 outstanding backlog of applicants for mining titles.
Chitando also acknowledged challenges bedevilling the sector such as energy, high costs of production, fuel challenges and foreign currency exchange controls, uncertainties in the labour market, ageing plant and equipment which Government is in the process of dealing with.
The forum was running under the theme, “Towards a US $12 billion sector; Mining industry perspectives.”