Zimbabwe’s Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda, came up with a US$20 Million budget towards a country wide exercise that is aimed at assessing the value of all mineral resources Zimbabwe is endowed with. This was revealed while presenting his keynote address to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mineral Development and stakeholders during a review of legislation and policies governing the mining sector.
Lack of geological evidence on mineral endowment, has hindered the country to fully exploit its mineral resources, considering that Zimbabwe is one of the top richest countries in the whole world in terms of natural minerals, but has remained one of the poorest economically.
In this 21st century the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development is still using old and outdated topographical maps or mineral surface maps, as such new topographical maps are a matter of urgency for wide exploration of minerals.
“Locally the Ministry continues to rely on old topographical maps in the issuance of mining claims. Those maps are really antiquated, some of these maps are barely visible hence the need for the Ministry of Finance to sponsor the completion of the mining cadastre system,” highlighted Mudenda.
“This system would not cost more than USD20 million, we can make savings and ensure the ministry is operational as far as the cadastre. It is imperative that we know the minerals that we have especially along the great dyke this is important in signing of agreement without which the country could be prejudiced,” added Mudenda.
Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Winston Chitando noted that, although the mining sector is facing a plethora of challenges technologically, the sector remains vibrant to turn around the Zimbabwean economy.
“Mining industry is headed for great heights, despite challenges which are there in the sector, we have invested in exploration. In terms of the money for the purchase of the hardware, for the cadastre system, money was released so payment has been done,” highlighted Chitando.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) deputy director Mutuso Dhliwayo bemoaned lack of implementation of mining policies, as some of the polices which were approved more than 10 years ago have not been implemented up to this present time. Such polices includes the Mines and Minerals policy of 2007.
“As long as there is no implementation, people will remain skeptical. So pronouncement is good but it should be followed by implementation, we are already mining but there is no exploration which is critical in terms of us getting information,” noted Dhliwayo.
“We welcome the pronouncements but we are more interested in terms of the action, so hopefully they will follow through that but given the history of what has happened before it’s difficult to rely on those pronouncements until we see action on the ground,” added Dhliwayo.
Lack of mineral geological evidence, has not hampered developments only in Zimbabwe, as Africa is facing the same challenge.
“The African Mining Vision highlights that most African nations lose out because they lack basic geological mapping and are poorly mapped,” said Mudenda
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent.