PRESIDENT Mnangagwa will officially open this year’s edition of the Chambers of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ’s) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and conference, to be graced by several local and international high profile dignitaries, which roars into life in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Wednesday next week.
This year’s edition of the forthcoming Zimbabwe Annual Mining Conference and AGM will be held on May 29, 2019 to June 1, 2019, at the Elephant Hills Hotel.
The mining conference will run under the theme “Realising Vision 2030 through mineral resource led growth”, in line with Government’s vision of attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“The main conference will be officially opened by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Mnangagwa who is our guest of honour,” said CoMZ president Batirai Manhando on Wednesday.
An international speaker, Dr Eric Lilford, a seasoned minerals economist based in Perth, Australia will share with delegates on best practice in leveraging on mineral resources for socio-economic development.
Other notable key speakers scheduled to make presentations at the event include Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi, and CoMZ outgoing president Batirai Manhando.
Manhando said the theme and programme had been designed to align private sector growth plans with Government narrative of Vision 2030 wherein it expects the mining sector to take a lead in achieving Vision 2030.
The mining sector will thus seek to fulfil these aspirations through maximising the contribution of the sector to the socio-economic development of the country.
Manhando said this year’s event was special in a way as CoMZ had gone beyond its tradition and added a day on the programme dedicated to symposiums.
The symposiums will feature intensive discussions on gold and platinum industries growth strategies in line with the need to unlock the potential in the two minerals, which generate over half of Zimbabwe’s export earnings.
The session on the gold industry will discuss strategies for achieving the Government gold output target of 100 tonnes by 2023 while the Platinum Session will explore strategies to achieve 50 tonnes of platinum by 2030.
On platinum CoMZ seeks to maximise the contribution of platinum resources to the economy, a resource Zimbabwe is believed to hold the second largest deposits after South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of PGMs.
The annual miners’ conference will also discuss a range of issues besetting the mining industry and hampering efforts to ensure optimal performance of the strategic sector.
Meanwhile, growth of Zimbabwe’s mining industry, which tapered off in the first quarter, will rebound by end of the year if teething issues, chief among them “low” foreign currency retention thresholds and delayed payments to gold miners, are resolved, captains of the mining industry said.
Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ) chief executive officer (CEO) Isaac Kwesu told journalists during a media briefing in Harare ahead of the miners’ annual general meeting in Victoria Falls next week that the mining industry did not perform well in the first quarter.
Mr Kwesu could, however, not give figures of specific mineral performance, as a more detailed report on the sector was yet to be completed.
Mr Kwesu said while production of most minerals had declined in the first three months of this year, the miners remained confident that the decline in mineral production for the first quarter will be reversed and remarkable growth realised provided their challenges were addressed.
Only chrome is believed to have done well or marginally well with the rest of minerals posting a production downslide in the first quarter. Kwesu said while statistics were still being collated, preliminary results showed a general decline across minerals, except possibly for chrome.
The CoMZ CEO also stressed the point that even if the final results on industry performance come; it was unlikely the outlook for the sector would change.
“We are still hopeful, with a number of initiatives the industry is going through, that we will be able to recover from the negative growth and post remarkable output performance for the mining industry by year end,” Mr Kwesu said.
Mining, which generated US$3,2 billion in 2018 and is projected to earn US$12 billion by 2023, accounts for over 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s annual export earnings. Government’s two-year economic blueprint, Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) targets reopening closed mines, boosting mines operating below capacity, opening new mines, promoting beneficiation, value addition and increasing earnings from minerals.
“We are still very hopeful that notwithstanding the negative performance for the first quarter, overall performance for the year, based on what mining houses are doing, is going to be a good year,” Mr Kwesu added.
He said challenges across the sector mostly entailed delays in forex payments to exchange to gold miners, which had, however, improved lately.