Government is working on mineral specific policies for all key resources mined in the country as part of a broad strategy to grow the sector from its current state. President Mnangagwa has set a Vision 2030 target by which the country should attain upper middle-income earning status and the mining sector is expected to rake in US$12 billion annually from exports.
It is against this background that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is working on tailor-made strategies that according to Minister Winston Chitando should result in the US$12 billion target being attained.
For a start, Cabinet, at its last Tuesday session, approved the country’s new diamond policy, which is largely expected to spur investment in the potentially high returns sector that had previously failed to live to expectation resulting in Government moving to consolidation in 2016.
In an interview, Minister Chitando said the diamond policy will be followed by such other specific policies for various minerals among them lithium, gold, platinum and chrome as Government moves towards clearly defined mining parameters for increased output, efficiency and accountability
“Government is coming up with mineral specific policies,” said Minister Chitando.
“So we have announced the diamond mining policy, we are working on a lithium development policy, we are working on a platinum development policy, we are working on a gold development policy, we are working on a chrome and iron ore development policy.
“So these are mineral specific policies, which will be announced as we go on, all meant to facilitate the growth of the mining sector and to achieve the US$12 billion annual target by 2023,” he said.
The specific policy move comes at a time when the ministry has also announced that it will introduce mineral specific desks as well as a special desk for artisanal and small-scale mining. The envisaged reorganisation, Minister Chitando reasons, should improve efficiency as opposed to the current situation where different sector issues are centralised at general desks thus production being curtailed by issues that can be ironed out with better and adequate interface between parties.
The US$12 billion target comes on the back of Zimbabwe having managed just US$2,38 billion from mineral exports last year with gold, as has become the norm, being the major driver.
Small-scale or artisanal miners are, however, now producing more than their primary producer counterparts a situation that has been attributed to capital flight in the primary producer sector.
Government, under President Mnangagwa, is, however, seeking to return investment back into the sector through the “Zimbabwe is open for business” drive that is being emboldened by a business friendly policy shift.