THE Mines ministry is demanding $8 million from the 2022 budget to woo investors into the mining sector and ensure that closed mines dotted around the country are reopened.
This was said on Sunday by Mines minister Winston Chitando in a report which he presented in Victoria Falls during the 2022 pre-budget seminar in response to issues raised by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines.
Chitando said during public hearings by the committee on the 2022 national budget, members of the public demanded that government must prioritise the reopening of closed mines throughout the country to enhance employment creation and improve mining revenue going into the fiscus.
He said Zimbabwe had a lot of large-scale mines that were shut down owing to the prevailing economic meltdown, leaving thousands of employees jobless. Some of the mines that are comatose include Shabanie Mashaba Mines in Zvishavane, Nan Jiang Africa diamond mine in the Save Valley Conservancy in Bikita, among several others.
“The ministry will enhance its efforts towards resuscitation of closed mines. A total of $8 172 604 is required to support promotional activities, engagement with investors and relevant stakeholders towards the reopening of the closed mines,”
Chitando’s report read.
“More effort is also being made through Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) whereby they are engaging various investors to reopen closed mines. The ministry intends to transform the Lupane office into a full-fledged provincial office. Currently, Bulawayo Metropolitan hosts most of the staff and operations of the province.”
Chitando said in line with government’s devolution and decentralisation policy, there is need to develop the Lupane Mines office into a full-fledged provincial office.
“Funding will, therefore, be required for acquisition of land, construction of appropriate offices, fully furnishing the offices and provision of requisite tools of trade. In this regard, the ministry requires $150 000 000 to achieve this target.”
“It was also recommended that a lithium smelting and processing plant should be set up to produce products rather than export raw minerals. Value addition of raw lithium will bring more revenue to the government and production of finished products such as batteries given that this time due to climatic conditions, countries are moving to cleaner energy.”
Chitando said his ministry was on course in terms of achieving a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023 with a view to attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030.