Mnangagwa calls for responsible mining that guarantees environmental sustainability

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By Anna Chibamu

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged stakeholders in the mining industry to practice responsible mining that guarantees environmental sustainability.

He was speaking during the Commissioning of the Bikita Minerals (PVT) Ltd Spodumene and Petalite Processing Plants in Bikita, Masvingo province.

The mining industry has been struggling to deal with many challenges such as land degradation resulting in dams and river siltation and water and air pollution.

“As Zimbabwe, we equally remain alive to our broader strategic responsibility to supply vital resources to a vast number of global industries, for shared prosperity. We will, therefore, continue to exercise good stewardship over the many natural resources in our country, by ensuring that stakeholders in the sector practice responsible mining that guarantees environmental sustainability.

“To date, the Responsible Mining Initiative launched by my administration has prioritised environmental matters and scaled up the protection of our natural ecosystems and resources for both present and future generations,” Mnangagwa said.

The exercise is said to have helped to highlight challenges and proffer solutions for the overall improvement of the country’s mining sector.

“Through the whole of government and society approach, we are minimising environmental harm and biodiversity loss while maximising benefits for both investors and the generality of the people of Zimbabwe.

“As you are aware, lithium is one of the critical raw minerals for our journey to net zero. It is most opportune that this event is happening in the backdrop of my attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) being held in the United Arab Emirates.

“The issues on the increased use of renewable energy, climate finance and energy transition, among other aspects, will be discussed. Zimbabwe remains committed to putting people, nature, lives and livelihoods at the heart of our climate action agenda,” he added.

Mnangagwa further commended the Sinomine Resource Group for taking heed of the government’s call for beneficiation and value addition of lithium ores by investing over US$ 300 million into the various stages of the project.

“This project has contributed to the realisation of our target of attaining a US$12 billion mining economy by year end. The milestone represents part of my government’s efforts to consolidate our position as a regional and global hub for lithium mining and related industries.

“The expansion of the old Petalite Plant, with the associated increase of petalite through-put to 480 000 tonnes per annum, up from the current 30 000 tonnes should have broader ripple effects.

“Riding on these raw materials, I call for additional investments in related value chains such as the manufacturing of glass, enamel and ceramics, more so given the rapid expansion of our construction and related manufacturing industrial base.”