Zimbabwe carrying out Geological Mineral Survey

IN an interesting twist of events the Government of Zimbabwe says it is carrying out a Geological Mineral Survey to ascertain the quantum and potential value of mineral resources in the country.

This comes almost one year after the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) dished out a pamphlet to international investors informing them of the quantum of minerals in the country. It now turns out that that document was not done professionally.

"The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) does not have geological professionals right now and I really wonder who gave them that information about minerals in the country," a UZ professor said in an exclusive interview.

That document had alleged that Zimbabwe has 13 million tonnes of gold, 2,8 billion tonnes of platinum, 930 million tonnes of chromite, 4,5 million tonnes of nickel, 26 billion tonnes of coal, 16,5 million "tonnes of diamonds", 30 billion tonnes of iron ore, 5,2 million tonnes of copper and various quantities of methane.

However, the UZ professor said diamonds were not measured in tonnes and so the document could be fake.

"Zimbabwe is endowed with abundant natural resources which, if managed prudently, will contribute significantly to the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the MTP targets," Tendai Biti, the Minister of Finance, said.

He said the Geological Mineral Survey would establish a framework which incorporated development funds for the benefit of communities especially in areas where mining activities were being undertaken.

It would also involve a thorough verification process using a comprehensive Geological Survey which would be necessary for the validation of Zimbabwe's mineral resources and reserves.

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

"This verification process is key for assisting the country to avoid financial prejudice and investor's under-estimation of value of underground mineral resources, and 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 said in addition, the exploitation of such mineral resources required that government launches an intensive investment drive in the mining sector.

"Combined with the pursuit of sound macro-economic policies and debt relief, this initiative will ensure that the country is able to generate sufficient foreign exchange resources to attain sustainable and inclusive growth," Biti said.

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