Fungi Kwaramba                                            recently in Chiadzwa

DESPITE the lull in economic activity that has been brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, Zimbabwe is on course to achieve its target to become a US$12 billion mining economy by 2023 and become a middle income by 2030, President Mnangagwa said.

Speaking during the official reopening of Anjin Diamond Company, which had ceased operations in 2016, in Marange, Chiadzwa on Saturday, the President said his Government valued unity of purpose in the critical mining sector, one of the key enablers towards achieving Vision 2030.

“Three weeks or so ago I was in Hwange where I visited nine companies that by 2023 should be generating in excess of 6 900 megawatts of power, that will make Zimbabwe energy sufficient and be able to export part of that energy.

“It was a shame that in the immediate past we had begun importing coal from Botswana when we have abundant coal in this country. Under the current administration, that will not happen again. We are determined not only to produce adequate coal for ourselves but enough to export and that is on course.

“I have given mandate to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to achieve the goals he himself stated, so the minister is tied to the goals he stated to achieve. All indications are that we might achieve the goals earlier than expected.”

The President vowed to do everything within the Government’s power to improve the welfare of the people as he reassured investors that the doors of the Second Republic under his watch would remain open to dialogue to ensure a win-win climate of doing business.

An ambitious US$12 billion mining economy by 2023 which the Government is currently pursuing is already within grasp, the President said — with the resumption of operations by Anjin Diamond Company, which was generating US$200 million annually now set to positively contribute towards that goal.

“I am delighted to be here in Marange Diamond Fields in Chiadzwa on a familiarisation tour of the Anjin Diamond Company. This follows my decision to personally travel around the country to inspect the various development projects and investments which are underway within our provinces. As a servant leader, I am leading a Government which is people-oriented, stays and works among the people. We will do all that is possible to change the quality of life of our people, in all parts of the country. Forward ever”.

On Thursday the President launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy in Victoria Falls so as to revive the Covid-19 hit tourism sector and toured a number of projects in the resort time.

The day after, on Friday, he toured road rehabilitation works along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway that are being carried out by local companies and would improve arterial linkage between Zimbabwe and its biggest regional trading partner South Africa.

Leading from the front, the President was also recently in Hwange, on a two-day working visit where companies have ramped-up coal mining activities that will ensure Zimbabwe will not only have adequate electricity by 2023 but also that it will have access energy for export.

With the mining sector at the heart of the country’s development, the President said deliberate steps that were taken by the Second Republic to allow Anjin Diamond Mining Company and Alrosa from the Russian Federation are meant to leverage on the two countries’ expertise in the diamond mining value chain.

“This strategic decision was informed by the longstanding historical relations between Zimbabwe, China and Russia, as well as our desire to accelerate the development of the whole diamond value chain in our leveraging on the expertise of Zimbabwe and the two countries.

“It is encouraging that Anjin Diamond Mining Company has made a new investment of around US$38 million for the resumption of operations. The company has repaired and recovered 150 sets of mining equipment and vehicles; three processing plants and constructed a grease recovery plant, a pick centre and an 800-ton water plant among other things,” he said.

He added that since the thriving diamond industry has the potential to grow and sustain livelihoods, all the while contributing a significant percentage to export earnings and foreign direct investments, seatbacks as the current one caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are temporary.

“We must therefore remain resolute and prioritise value addition and beneficiation for maximum returns.

“It behoves both local and foreign investors to take up investment in the backward and forward linkage industries within the diamond industry. We must look beyond the horizon and innovate to develop robust strategies to grow a thriving mining sector to meet the needs of global economy.

“Due to the experience and expertise of Anjin Mining Company, I am confident that the company will help in shaping Zimbabwe’s global competitive niche in the diamond sector. We equally look forward to creation of both direct and indirect jobs as well as empowerment opportunities from the associated value chains. It is pleasing the commencement of mining activities at this site will create over 500 jobs at the onset. I urge the company to ensure that women and the youth are the largest beneficiaries of this development,” said the President.

In line with devolution and developing provincial economies, the President said it was important to ensure that mining firms take up relevant corporate social responsibility activities to benefit communities where they will be carrying activities.

“My administration remains committed to giving you all the necessary support and my doors are open for dialogue on how we can collectively achieve the growth trajectory we have set for our mining sector. Rest assured that we will further continue to implement predictable and consistent policies conducive for growth of the sub-sector and its entire value chain,” he said.

The diamond sector is expected to contribute US$1 billion towards the US$12 billion mining economy attainment vision by 2023. Zimbabwe is endowed with vast minerals that include, gold, platinum and nickel just to mention a few.

Vice President Chiwenga, Defence  and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Minister of State for Manicaland Province Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba were among top Government officials who accompanied the President to the diamond fields that are key in the country’s economic recovery process.