Mining Indaba South Africa

Zimbabwe is open for business

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“Zimbabwe’s mineral resources are under-explored and there are vast opportunities for investors who have the appetite to explore”. This is according to Honourable Winston Chitando, Zimbabwe Minister of Mines and Mining Development. He was the keynote speaker at the Mining in Zimbabwe Dialogue that took place on Tuesday 6 February at the One&Only in Cape Town. 

According to Minister Chitando, there are multiple opportunities that Cabinet would like to see investors take advantage of. He emphasised two issues that will help stimulate the mining industry, being the indigenisation threshold that is now in place for only diamonds and platinum and government’s endeavour to uphold policy clarity and consistency.

The Minister commented that there are currently only three  Exclusive Prospecting Orders in Zimbabwe  and he invited more entities to partner with Cabinet to unearth more of what is in the country. Opportunities exist amongst others in asbestos, coal, iron-ore, platinum, lithium and nickel. He emphasised that Zimbabwe has good systems in place that, as one example, lead to quick turnaround time for exports. 

One of the current investors in Zimbabwe, Zunaid Moti, chairman of the Moti group, set the scene for the objective of the day – getting investors interested in Zimbabwe. “Opportunities are based on relationships that were cultivated as result of difficulties that were worked through.  This is my advice: build relationships with the Government. There is nothing that can’t be solved through conversations – it is truly open for business in Zimbabwe when the Head of Government invites you in for tea to talk about your interest in the country.  The invitation is open to look at Zimbabwe in the positive light it deserves,” he said. 

Victor Kgomoeswana, author of ‘Africa is Open for Business’,  who acted as moderator for the event, commented that it is the work ethic of Zimbabweans and resourcefulness – combined with the depth and breadth of what Zimbabwe is – that should inspire investors to have a  presence in the country.

Ashruf Kaka, National Project Director of African Chrome Fields (ACF) and CEO of the Moti Group, echoed Kgomoeswana’s sentiment that Zimbabwe’s real beauty is the unwavering spirit of its people.  Kaka explained that the Moti Group took the leap of faith to invest in Zimbabwe in 2014 -  a time when it may have, at the very least, been considered unwise to do so. However, according to Kaka, the faith that they placed in Zimbabwe and their belief in its potential has been repaid richly over the past few years. Recently the company commissioned state of the art, German engineered, chrome ore processing wash plants and support infrastructure to the value of USD220 million which is expected to produce 60 000 tons of chromite a month. 
He continued that “the new dispensation led by His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa have brought Zimbabwe into a moment of renewed hope where the shackles of the past are being broken down piece by piece. “

As CSI is a cornerstone of business in Africa, ACF has prioritised CSI in line with Zimbabwe’s sustainable development policy. The company built and currently maintains  over 100 kilometres of roads, established boreholes and works on improving infrastructure of the local clinic and built permanent accommodation for over 900 of its local employees.  They are also introducing mobile container schools for education of more than 250 local learners as well as containers for IT solutions to improve Internet connection and to provide the necessary technological resources. 

 A panel of business leaders joined the Minister in discussions about the current state of business in Zimbabwe, the policies needed to lure investors and lessons learnt by current investors.   They were Mr Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith General Partners, Mr Rafiq Bagus, CEO of Morning Tide Investments, Mr Ashruf Kaka, National Director of ACF and John Drummond, Chief Technical Officer of ACF.  

 Kgomoeswana’s concluded: “It is  early days yet, but the horizon looks much more promising for Zimbabwe than it did a few months ago. And if it looks optimistic for Zimbabwe, it looks optimistic for the SADEC region and so also for Africa.”

Issued on behalf of African Chrome Fields

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Issue 42