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Exploration licences surge on Zimbabwe political changes
March 28, 2018, 8:34 pm

After only three exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs) in December, 100 are expected by end June

In a follow-up to the Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference 2018 held at the Meikles Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe at the beginning of March and the London Investment Summit in mid-March, Zimbabwe Mines Minister Winston Chitando engaged with more than 100 delegates and 15 journalists at the one-day Harare Indaba in Johannesburg.

In response to questions from The BRICS Post, Chitando said the number of exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs) had increased from only three in December to 30 currently and he expected this to rise above 100 by the end of June.

“We had a very enthusiastic reception in London with over 300 delegates attending, so the message that Zimbabwe is open for business is finding resonance in the investment community,” he said.

He pointed out that any company investing $100m or more in the mining industry could negotiate tax rates, royalties and ownership structures directly with the government as the government was keen to revive the industry after years of neglect.

In particular, he pointed out that there was great interest in lithium with four projects currently under way.

“As the government, we have to put in the correct environment, so once we put in the enabling legislation and regulations we can then attract the foreign capital,” he said, as he started his keynote address with a diagram showing that there were three requirements for a successful mining industry.

The first was a resource base and Zimbabwe had over 60 minerals that were available for exploitation.

Chitanado noted however that most of the exploration work had been done in the 1950s and 1960s, so there was a need to update the geological map using modern methods.

The second was the human capital and Zimbabwe had a hard working skilled labour force.

The third was capital as mining was capital intensive and that was Zimbabwe’s greatest need at the moment.

According to consultancy Mining Report, Zimbabwe has 800 mines which have the potential capacity to earn US$18 billion per year, but the sector has stagnated since 2009 with annual turnover only at US$2 billion.

Zimbabwe’s mining sector has a great opportunity for growth with the prospect of attracting $12 billion over the next 5 years and Chitando said that half of that amount had already been committed in the past three months.

Helmo Preuss in Johannesburg, South Africa for the BRICS Post

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