INTERNATIONAL investors should raise any policy issues directly with the responsible ministries as opposed to relying on sources outside of government, Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa has said.
Addressing some sixty international investors at a side event of the 2014 Mining Indaba organised by strategy consultancy Africa Practice and law firm Webber Wentzel, Chidhakwa said there should be an open door approach, signalling that his ministry is open to communication.
Chidhakwa challenged mining companies to approach the mining ministry with mutually beneficial solutions on how companies can meet profit-oriented shareholder obligations, whilst empowering the Zimbabwean people.
The minister was part of a panel that included Mathius Tongofa, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Alex Mhembere, the President of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines and Zimplats CEO, Gary McMahon, Senior Mining Specialist, World Bank.
The side event was organised as a platform to provide clarity to international investors on mining policy and government’s direction on the implementation.
President of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines and Zimplats CEO, Alex Mhembere, echoed the Minister’s sentiments, saying the industry was in full support of government’s initiatives to use the mining industry as a catalyst for growth in other sectors of the economy and increase local beneficiation.
He added that industry, particularly the platinum mining sector, was reaching the 500,000 ounce output level that would make refinery construction commercially viable and that discussion with the government on implementation was ongoing.
Gary McMahon from the World Bank highlighted the importance of downstream benefits the mining industry could provide; indicating that in some countries, service providers to the sector contributed more than 60 percent its economic output.
McMahon indicated that the World Bank was currently working on a study on how Zimbabwe’s mining sector could play a bigger role in growing industries in the mining supply chain. The findings of this study and recommendations will be presented to government.
Commenting on the discussions, event organiser Rishon Chimboza of Africa Practice said the largest investors in Zimbabwe and senior representatives from some of the world’s largest mining companies and financial institutions attended the event.Advertisement
“It is encouraging that in spite of the negative publicity that the country sometimes receives, there was still keen interest from international investors on Zimbabwe opportunities.
“Going forward we certainly expect to see more direct dialogue between the international investors and the ministry to avoid confusion on the country’s laws and regulations,” he said.