Minerals must be processed locally, minister

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ZIMBABWE should establish diamond and gold parks so that the country start to produce finished products, the Minister of Mines Walter Chidhakwa said.
Speaking at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual congress in Bulawayo on Thursday, Chidhakwa said the mining sector should also be digitalized to fight corruption.
“If we are to move forward and improve earnings in this sector there is need for a fundamental paradigm shift to digitalize and do away with corruption in the entire system,” he said.
Chidhakwa said he had summoned the country’s mining commissioners and warned them about them being involved in corrupt deals.
“I told them to stop forthwith because there is no individual who is more important than Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has diamonds and gold and we have more than 130,000 claim holders and only 800 mines are producing in Zimbabwe. It is high time we digitalize the mining system and eradicate corruption,” Chidhakwa said.
Chamber of Mines president Alex Mhembere recently said there was need to resuscitate closed mines and open new ones to maintain the current momentum.
“The mining sector has to date been the most dynamic sector of the Zimbabwean economy, leading the 2009-2011 rebound with average annualised growth (rate) of 35 percent,” he said.
He said that all the hidden powers that were invested on certain individuals to mine at the river banks must cease with immediate effect.
“We have instructed all permanent secretaries to monitor and stop all the mining activities at the river banks because we cannot have gold at the expense of water and have thousands of people suffer because of a fewer individuals.
“Those hidden powers have to cease with immediate effect because people are suffering at the expense of special mining grants,” said Chidhakwa.
He said Zimbabwe must do away with the colonial system of exporting raw materials whose price will be determined by developed nations.
“We have to reverse the colonial system, come up with a diamond Park where diamonds are cut, polished cleaned and a gold park in Bulawayo where gold is cut and cleaned and we determine our market price,” said Chidhakwa.
The Chamber of Mines said current growth momentum was expected to be sustained at an average of 19,2 percent between the period 2012 to 2015, but said new deposits and mines should be discovered and opened.Advertisement

The chamber said a number of existing mines across the country that remain on care and maintenance or are closed due to capital and liquidity challenges should be resuscitated.
According to Mhembere, most of the country’s major minerals are this year expected to register significant growth except chrome, which is anticipated to record a decline in production.