Nyanga — GOVERNMENT and the private sector need to work together to promote the exploration of new mineral deposits, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe has said. CoMZ chief executive Mr John Chikombero said discovering new deposits was critical in guaranteing sustainability of mining activities and ensuring that mining becomes the cornerstone of economic growth.
He said while some exploration activities were taking place in parts of Matabeleland, there was need to scale up the level of exploration countrywide to secure the future of the mining industry in the country.
The CoMZ boss made the remarks while addressing bankers during the Institute of Bankers of Zimbabwe Summer Banking School which is underway in Nyanga.
The call comes at a time that Government has declared mining the centrepiece of Zimbabwe's economic growth with President Mugabe making several pronouncements in this regard.
"Everything in mining begins with exploration, without exploration you cannot go to the next step of mining. We are mining only what we know, what happens when we deplete those resources?"
Against this background, Mr Chikombero said it was critical that the entire investment environment is made conducive to attract fresh investment more so into mining and exploration.
The CoMZ CEO applauded Government plans to establish a mineral exploration company under the ambit of the State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
While Government is actively working on an exploration company, the private sector needs to move in fast and start working on discovering more deposits to sustain long-term mining activities. This requirement becomes even more critical considering Government's financial burden, which means its plans may take long to reach fruition as opposed to the private sector.
CoMZ believes that considering the lucrative opportunities in Zimbabwe, Government only needs to continue working on improving the investment environment to promote exploration.
Attractive incentives need to be put in place to encourage exploration considering that carrying out exploration activities is an expensive business and chances of success per trial are slim.
Zimbabwe has more than 40 known mineral occurrences, but little is known about the extent and value of the mineral endowments, making the case for exploration even more critical.
It is expected that the new mineral development policy Government is working on in preparation for new mining legislation before year end will adequately address exploration issues.
Mining has become the centrepiece of economic growth and development in Zimbabwe and Mr Chikombero said it was definite "mining is going to be with us in the short to medium term".