- August 24, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Zimbabwe Prospectors Association President Mr. Samson Dzingwe has urged the government to support local geologists to improve exploration in the country.
Rudairo Dickson Mapuranga
It is a fact that Zimbabwe is hamstrung by lack of exploration, the creation and continued support of Exploration Prospecting Orders (EPOs) by the government through the Ministry of Mines is an attempt to improve the country’s geological maps. However, many EPO holders are now being accused of holding on to these EPOs for speculative purposes thereby disadvantaging local small to medium miners who would want to peg claims.
According to Dzingwe, the government should abandon EPOs held for speculative purposes and come in to support local companies with state-of-the-art exploration equipment.
Dzingwe said that the government should have a firm control on all exploration activities in the country to avoid geological data theft by foreign firms who are in the habit of fleeing the country before handing over geological data.
He said the idea of EPOs should be abandoned to create a more favorable exploration that will be done by the government province by province in partnership with a serious local investor to boost the country’s geological maps.
“Government must abandon speculative E.P. Os, the reason being speculative E.P.Os holds up vast minerals land for a speculative purpose which in no way benefits the nation but individual companies on the expenses of the whole nation. These speculative E.P.Os block or closes business of artisanal small scale miners, abort, and extinct them with time.
Speculative E.P.Os brings no inclusivity and coexistence of all stakeholders concerned. The government must do it’s on exploration strategically, systematically, sporadically stage by stage, I mean province by province. The government must just acquire state of art exploration equipment to make that dream come true.
Whilst doing that certain land must be precluded from blanketing thus why I said, systematically, sporadically, stage by stage, province by province to benefit, promote and empower artisanal small-scale miners. The government must partner with serious investors after acquiring their own exploration data to improve its bargaining power, avoid, sabotage, speculation, falsification, stealing, or withholding of exploration data by individual companies as history reminds us. The idea of blanketing or carpeting whole country with speculative E.P.Os is against national interests and development of our country thus retrogressive.” Dzingwe said.
Dzingwe’s remarks have been supported by RIOZIM’s chief geologist Mr. Patrick Takaedza who said that the government can fund exploration the same way the government has been supporting local farmers.
Takaedza said that in other countries exploration is funded through stock exchange however Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has no capacity to finance exploration activities in the country therefore the government can cheap in to help. He said there should be criteria, strict vetting, and assessment in order for the government fund to be successful. Then progress reporting and monitoring by the Ministry of Mines through the department of Geology.
Takaedza said that the reason why the government-owned Mining Promotion Corporation is failing is due to lack of resources, to him, the MPC can be successful if it is well funded by the government.
“In the same way, they have assisted local farmers they have to assist to Mining industry too In developed countries exploration funds can be raised on the stock exchange the ASX in Australia or the JSE in SA. You can’t do that here in Zimbabwe on the ZSE. By the way, the Ministry has an exploration branch called MPC – Mining Promotion Corporation that has been largely unsuccessful because it is not well resourced.” Takaedza said.
However, renowned geologist Mr. Kennedy Mtetwa blasted the idea of government-funded exploration saying the country does not have the capacity to fund exploration activities when it was failing to import fuel and other basic commodities.
Mtetwa also said that the fact that the government is failing to fund the Ministry of Mines is a clear indication that such initiative can’t happen anytime soon in Zimbabwe.
“How does the government fund exploration which is expensive and is not a guarantee that you will find an economic deposit when the government doesn’t have enough to import fuel and pay civil servants? Nowhere in the world does governments fund exploration because it’s high risk. It’s for tier 1 and 2 exploration and mining companies who can easily write off USD 50 million if they don’t find a deposit. Exploration is not a joke. People talk about it whilst having zero knowledge of what exploration entails and the risks and costs related. The government can’t fund the ministry of mines adequately how then do you ask if they can fund exploration? There are not enough geologists at the Geological survey due to no funding.” Said Mtetwa.
On the other hand, Dzingwe disagreed with Mtetwa’s remarks saying that the reason why the mining sector is failing to receive funding from the government is due to misplaced priorities.
This article first appeared in the August 2020 issue of the Mining Zimbabwe magazine