Harare — GOVERNMENT will increase the student intake at the School of Mines in Bulawayo to curb the effects of the massive brain drain that has hit the mining sector, a senior Government official has said.
Speaking before the Portfolio Commit-tee on Mines, Environment and Tourism recently, the ministry's permanent secretary, Cde Thabani Ndlovu, said it was also focusing on retaining lecturers at the school through the provision of retention allowances and other perks.
"The mining sector has been severely hit by brain drain and as a ministry we have decided to increase the number of students at the college to fill the gap created by those who are leaving the country for greener pastures.
"We intend to prioritise resource allocation to critical areas such as retention of the staff at the college as well as seek funds from alternative sources to provide attractive perks.
"As the regulator of the sector in the country, the ministry has to make sure enough personnel is trained to service the mining sector," he said.
Mr Ndlovu said this would be done in liaison with stakeholders in the mining sector who are beneficiaries of the programme.
He also said the Department of Metallurgy, which is one of the most critical sections of the ministry, was in dire need of laboratory equipment to test and determine the value of the ore mined in the country, something that is likely to jeorpadise the operation of the department.
"The Metallurgy Department is currently experiencing shortages of requisite equipment to determine the value of minerals mined in the country. It is important to note that without proper equipment the country would lose out, as the department would not be able to account for all the minerals.
"Most of our ores have a number of minerals that we need to account for as a country. We cannot send them outside Zimbabwe for verification as there is a likelihood that the country might be duped. Minerals like platinum have more than seven components and these need to be identified and percentage occurrence verified.
"The department also needs to verify the value of ore that is mined at different mines across the country," he said.
The country has been forced to increase enrolments at training institutions in the country to make up for the void that has been created by workers who are leaving the country for greener pastures.