Biti to prioritise geological mineral survey for Zim

Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance Tendai Biti has indicated at the Euromoney Zimbabwe Investment Conference which ended in Harare today (22 March, 2012) that there is an urgent need to carry out a geological mineral survey to ascertain the quantum and potential value of mineral resources in the country.


Biti says that this is necessary since the country is seriously focusing on an intensified trajectory to leverage its natural resources in pursuit of economic development.

This ambition is also being considered as part of strategies to accelerate arrears clearance and to contain Zimbabwe's debt overhang, as per his debt clearance strategy launched at the investment conference.Zimbabwe is currently sitting on a $9,1 billion debt overhang which it is struggling to clear.

"Zimbabwe is endowed with abundant natural resources which, if managed prudently, will contribute significantly to the realisation of the MDGs and Medium Term Plan (MTP) targets," Biti says.

He says in his debt clearance strategy that government will pursue the creative use of its natural resources for sustainable economic development, particularly targeting its vast mineral resources.

Other initiatives to be prioritised include the finalisation of the new mining legal framework, establishment of a framework which incorporates development funds for the benefit of communities, especially in areas where mining activities are being undertaken.

A thorough verification process using a comprehensive geological survey for the validation of the country's mineral resources and reserves is proposed.

"This process, however, requires a considerable amount of technical, human and financial resources, which the country will have to mobilise," Biti says.

He adds that the verification process will assist the country to avoid financial prejudice and investors' under-estimation of the value of underground mineral resources.

"lt will also ensure proper planning in the utilisation of mineral resources for the benefit of the economy and future generations through the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund," Biti says.

He also proposes that in addition to the exploitation of mineral resources, government launches an intensive investment drive in the mining sector.

Biti told delegates at the Euromoney conference that Zimbabwe has the second largest deposits of platinum in the world.He also said that the country is currently exploiting 120 000 hectares of diamonds and has a potential of raising an estimated $52 billion from its diamond resources.

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